Griswold Watermain Emergency Repair

City of Northville
Northville, MI

Project Overview

The City of Northville’s Department of Public Works (DPW) discovered water pressure dropping and a main break on Griswold Street due to a snowstorm on February 16th, 2021. The 6-inch cast iron watermain, which runs north-south along Griswold Street, broke in front of the historic Water Wheel Centre office building, home to a Planet Fitness. The initial break was quickly repaired by DPW staff; however, the watermain kept breaking to the north with each repair clamp put in place.

After three repair clams were used and the main continued the break, the City determined a new approach was needed. One of the reasons a new approach was required is that the breaks were rapidly approaching the Griswold Street Bridge and Johnson Drain.

City officials asked its engineers, Fleis & VandenBrink (F&V), to assist in an emergency design and permit to replace approximately 200 feet of existing cast iron watermain with 8-inch high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe installed by directional drilling. Directional drilling was the best environmental option to avoid open cutting under a stream and digging underground shallow utilities in the area.

After consulting with City staff, F&V contacted the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) via phone that afternoon to discuss an emergency permit to install a replacement watermain and to work within the influence of the stream. F&V and City staff also worked with the City Council to get emergency approval to pay for the improvements.

By Friday, February 19th, the City had a permit in hand and awarded the directional drilling work to D’Angelo Brothers Utilities of Farmington. HDPE pipe fusing began that day on the emergency watermain along Griswold Street near a city parking lot. The project included fusing the new pipes, pressure testing and sampling the pipes, directional drilling the pipes, making the connections, and flushing the system. Bacteriological testing and monitoring were also performed.

F&V provided design and construction engineering services and assisted in expediting the EGLE permit to complete the emergency repairs.

City officials kept residents and the business community informed of the ongoing emergency repairs through its e-news and DPW crews going door-to-door. No businesses were shut down due to the low water pressure.

The final phase of the new watermain commenced on February 24th. Water pressure was restored by the day’s end without interruption to the water service during the final connection.

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