Saturday morning’s news of a lifting of the boil water advisory for Almont and Imlay City was surprising and welcoming. Residents and officials had prepared themselves for another two weeks of precautions and water distributions stretching into early September but Great Lakes Water Authority officials managed to find a way to supply treated water to those affected communities through its remaining infrastructure. Previously, there had only appeared to be one solution—wait until the broken pipe was replaced. There’s still a chance that the advisory could be re-issued if significant pressure drops occur.
Some of us likely have a renewed appreciation for safe drinking water after one week without easy access to it.
Systems will inevitably break or have other problems but the inconvenience and extra effort this advisory required of residents, businesses and even local leaders shouldn’t be overlooked.
Although boiling water or finding alternative sources was likely doable for most residents, these types of situations can have a more striking impact on the elderly and disabled citizens. Businesses, particularly restaurants, had to limit their offerings, make extra purchases and take additional precautions. Local city and village officials were forced to take a break from their regular duties to help distribute water last week.
Hopefully, GLWA can eventually determine what caused the problem and do what’s necessary to head off future disruptions. We trust that this instance will spur leaders to take a second look at their emergency preparedness plans and make any necessary adjustments so that the next water quality issue can be remedied quickly.