Most residents evacuated by sinkhole could return in a week

AP News
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Posted: Jan 01, 2017 6:17 PM
Most residents evacuated by sinkhole could return in a week

FRASER, Mich. (AP) — Most residents evacuated from 22 homes after a sinkhole developed in suburban Detroit should return in a week, officials said Sunday as a former congresswoman took charge on her first day as Macomb County public works commissioner and declared "all hands on deck."

Candice Miller said it probably will take a month to build a temporary bypass to get around the sewer line that failed and caused the sinkhole in Fraser. The sinkhole was discovered on Dec. 24. Three homes likely are beyond repair.

Miller publicly appealed to more than 300,000 residents in 11 communities to reduce toilet flushes and take brief showers to ease pressure on the broken line.

"We are going to solve this problem ... I don't know how much it's going to cost, and I don't know what the final fix will be. It will most likely be some sort of lining that will be necessary in this pipe," Miller told reporters, speaking over the roar of heavy machinery.

Residents evacuated from 19 of the 22 homes, mostly because utilities had to be shut off, should be able to return by Jan. 9, Fraser Mayor Joe Nichols said.

Miller, a former Michigan secretary of state, served 14 years in Congress before running this year for public works commissioner in Macomb County. She said she's reaching out to federal and state governments for financial help. Gov. Rick Snyder plans to visit the site.

"It's all hands on deck. We want everyone involved in this thing," said Miller, a Republican.

County Executive Mark Hackel, a Democrat and the county's top elected official, repeatedly expressed confidence in Miller. He said residents affected by the sinkhole definitely "need to be made whole." It's unclear how that will happen.

Miller defeated longtime public works Commissioner Anthony Marrocco, who didn't tour the sinkhole site during his last week in office.

"There has been zero transition. ... I was never contacted by the former commissioner," Miller said.

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