Water pressure is beginning to return to some neighborhoods in the City of Saline, but a boil water alert remains in effect.
Residents throughout the City of Saline were without water this morning after a water main break at Maple Road and Michigan Avenue. City-wide water pressure is expected to be restored to regular levels by 4 p.m. at the latest, except in areas close to the main break.
Schools in the City of Saline remained open and are using buses to shuttle students to Saline High School to use bathrooms.
According to a recent communication from the district, the city is in the process of refilling its two water towers.
DPW Director Jeff Fordice said a large water main broke before 5 a.m.
"It's a major problem and we're trying to fix it. Water pressure is very, very low. We almost have the break isolated," Fordice said this morning.
Some residents reported water problems as early as 4:15 a.m. Old Creek Drive was flooded with over a foot of water.
The water main that broke was built in 1965. The water main west of Maple was replaced during the recent Michigan Avenue project.
Once the main is fixed, the city will need to refill the two towers with about 650,000 gallons of water. As per DEQ regulations, the city will have a boil water alert for 48 hours - meaning residents will be advised not to drink city water unless they've boiled it first -- as the city tests the water for bacteria throughout the systm.
Saline Area Schools Superintendent Scot Graden said this morning that school would go on.
"We're going to limp along," Graden said.
The district made fountains off limits at its schools in the city (Saline Middle School, Liberty School, Saline Alternative High School, and Heritage, Pleasant Ridge and Woodland Meadows elementary schools).
District officials decided to go forward with the school day after city officials originally estimated water pressure restoration by mid-morning. The later estimate forced additional measures.
The district's bus fleet is shuttling students to the high school to use the bathroom. The high school is located in Pittsfield Township, which is served by a different water system. Bathrooms are also available in emergency situations, according to district spokesperson Steve Laatsch. Hand sanitizer is being used in all the buildings.
Food service can run a cycle of lunches in each of the impacted buildings without water for one day, according to Laatsch.
In the event of a fire in the city, the Saline Area Fire Department will treat it like they would out in the township, where they often battle blazes without fire hydrants.
"We've got 7,000 gallons or so in our tankers," Hoeft said. "We can also call for assistance from fire departments from other communities."
The Saline Rec Center closed at 7 a.m. The library is expected to open at 1 p.m.