Water Crisis Hits Michigan Suburb

According to Brian Steglitz, head of Ann Arbor’s Water Treatment Department, Michigan has been taking its water and sewer systems for granted.

A massive water main broke in Oakland County, making tap water susceptible to bacteria and E. coli. A mandate to boil water was immediately put in place for more than 300,000 residents.

Due to the widespread contamination, schools and businesses closed down, hospitals canceled surgeries, and civilians drove miles away to buy bottled water.

Aging infrastructure incidents like this one have become more frequent and dangerous across the state. Water officials led by Gov. Rick Snyder uncovered the following startling facts about the state’s water quality:

  • 5.7 billion gallons of untreated raw sewage flows Michigan waterways annually
  • 64 rivers that drain the vast majority of land in the Lower Peninsula (84 percent) tested positive for human sewage
  • 1 in 10 of the state’s 1.3 million septic tanks are experiencing operational problems

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