Update: City Taps Massive Pipe Inspection Program to Pinpoint Sinkhole Cause

Question remains whether issue could have been avoided with proper maintenance and inspection schedule

Update: City Taps Massive Pipe Inspection Program to Pinpoint Sinkhole Cause

A sinkhole discovered on Christmas Eve in Frasier, Michigan, displaced the residents of 22 homes. (Photo by Bryce Huffman, Michigan Radio)

Perhaps in an attempt to make up for years to infrastructure neglect, Macomb County plans inspect the entire pipe system surrounding a collapsed sewer line that turned into a massive sinkhole Christmas Eve in Frasier, Michigan.

The inspection will use cameras and other technologies to examine 17 miles of pipe in the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District. Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Candice Miller says doing a full inspection is the only way to know if there’s additional damage, and what the fixes might look like.

Total repair costs are estimated to run upwards of $150 million, the brunt of which will fall on ratepayers in the 11 Macomb communities that make up the drainage district.

“We need to have all the information at our fingertips to make sure that we can be making the very best decision for the ratepayers, because quite frankly that’s who’s paying for all of this work,” Miller told Michigan Public Radio.

So far, Macomb County has not received any major state or federal aid to deal with the sinkhole. “Fingers crossed we’ll get a little bit of help here, but we might not,” Miller said.

A state grant will help cover most of the cost of the $1.5 million state inspection, Miller said. It should take three to four months.

The widespread sewer inspection is exactly what James Heath, a former longtime employee of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department suggests could have helped avoid the massive sinkhole that led to the evacuation of 22 homes in a January UGLI Tech story.

“I don’t think it’s any one person. It’s a systemic problem with communities that fail to perform inspections like they should,” James Heath told the Detroit Free Press. “Inspection and maintenance should be a continuous process.”

Source: Michigan Public Radio

We need to have all the information at our fingertips to make sure that we can be making the very best decision for the ratepayers.”

Candice Miller, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner


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