Multiple Water Main Breaks Affect Businesses

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

Four water main breaks in less than 24 hours in Lansing.

The Board of Water Light said the weather is to blame. Going from consistently cool temperatures to the mild fall day Wednesday, it appears things were weakened.

That's little consolation for businesses around the water main breaks though.

Tom Milbourn witnessed the one break on South Martin Luther King Blvd. during his shift at Midas.

"No noise, just all of a sudden just a gush of water, and it just kept dumping," Milbourn said. "It was going about three feet high for about two and a half hours."

That's when the Midas staff filled up gallons of water before it was turned off. Working on cars means lots of hand washing, but unfortunately, that wasn't an issue.

"It's just been real slow," Milbourn said. "With the barracades and the confusion, and just people really not being able to get into the parking lot, for them trying to take care of the problem, part of the parking lot was blocked off."

From slow business to no business, next door Jackie's Diner had to close early, and Tim Horton's took precautions.

"We had the health inspector here though quite a few times today to make sure everything was doing OK," Supervisor Leighanne Hamill said.

Another water main break occurred on Homer Street, and laundromat Sunshine Cleaners is nearly next door.

Pat Vanwormer said they weren't busy, and she was glad, because water main breaks can cost them customers.

"In the past, there have been serious problems," Vanwormer said. "We've had to turn customers away because the water would discolor their clothing, and then we'd have to redo their clothes for them, and that's never good."

Vanwormer said BWL has offered them Rust Out in the past, but it's just not enough.

"Seeing that you have to run the water to clear it, to make sure it gets clear, you know I think something should be deducted from someone's bill," Vanwormer said. "Private citizen or business owner."

A fourth break at Allison and Sandlyn was also being repaired late Wednesday.

The water might be clear, but it's certainly not under the bridge yet.

BWL said more breaks are possible, but it can't predict Michigan weather and didn't want to speculate.


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