Watch CBS News

Officials: Contractor Drilling May Have Caused Sinkhole; While Questions Linger On Raw Sewage Dumped Into River

FRASER (WWJ/AP) - New Macomb County Public Works Commissioner, Candice Miller, says she has a theory about the sinkhole in Fraser. Miller told WWJ's Sandra McNeill Wednesday, holes drilled by a contractor in 1979 may have caused the sinkhole.

County engineering consultant Jason Edberg says a series of two-inch holes were bored into an old line and that groundwater might have seeped into one of the holes, causing soil to erode and the pipe to collapse.

Miller also said the cost of fixing the sinkhole along 15 Mile near Hayes could reach tens of millions of dollars. Miller and Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel talked with the governor's office and emergency management staff about the cost.

Miller says the county needs financial help to fix the hole.

The current sinkhole was discovered Dec. 24 by homeowners who awoke to find their house sinking -- a state of emergency was declared just days after by Fraser mayor Joe Nichols.

That home and two others in the area have since been condemned. Authorities have made nearly two dozen households vacate their structures.

But another environmentally pressing issue continues to linger -- that being the amount of raw sewage knowingly drained into the Clinton River days after the sinkhole broke ground.

Anne Vaara, Executive Director of the Clinton River Watershed Council, says they're still waiting to get answers to some of their questions.

"We'll continue daily until we have some better answers," says Vaara, "I'd like to hear from the DEQ what their response is, I've yet to hear from them, and I've yet to see comments in the public - other than they've been informed and they are aware of the situation."

She says they continue to monitor the situation and stay in communication with the Public Works Office and the county.

She notes that because of the time of year -- it's not known how many people use the section of the river where the sewage was dumped and cautions people to stay away.

"I'm not sure what the flow is right now -- but we just had all that rain, and I'm sure that doesn't help the situation in terms of the flow and where the sewage is going to go and how far it's going to end up into Lake St. Clair -- it's impossible to know -- we are not part of the tracking."

Vaara says they're very concerned because it was raw sewage that was pumped into the river -- not treated or even partially treated. "They did what they had to do to prevent a further situation in Fraser - it still doesn't make that particular situation any better for the Clinton River."

Raw sewage was pumped into the Clinton River to avoid flooding in nearby residents' basements.

She says in the meantime, they're asking residents in Fraser and surrounding communities to conserve water where they can.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.