This article appeared in Up North Live. For more, click here.

It’s a problem many northern Michigan communities are dealing with: aging and crumbling water lines.

In the past week, the City of Cheboygan has had more than half a dozen water main breaks.

UpNorthLive News spoke with residents and the city manager about this chronic problem.

The city’s website lists nine water main breaks, all of which occurred northwest of downtown.

Some houses had lower water pressure while others lost water completely.

One resident and his family didn’t know what was going on until it was too late.

“It’s been a minor inconvenience, but I think it would be nicer to tell the residents what’s actually going on. I didn’t know it was on a webpage – or where to find out this information – until I called the city and they said there were three water main breaks,” said Cheboygan resident Randy Riddle.

Aside from losing water, the breaks represent another traffic obstacle for citizens.

The fire, along with the ongoing reconstruction of Court Street, created a maze of detours.

“I know every side street in Cheboygan now, just because of the detours that I have to [take] just to get anywhere,” Riddle said. “But you can see the effects of the infrastructure not being updated for who knows how many years. It’s all coming to a head now.”

“I think it’s very difficult for many people, my husband has a real [difficulty] getting around, he hasn’t even been going out. Whereas I just think it’s another challenge. It’s a puzzle. If you can’t go this way then go that way, you just figure it out,” said Susan, a Cheboygan resident.

UpNorthLive News spoke with the City Manager Daniel Sabolsky, who said the DPW is working nonstop to fix the breaks.

He said the pipes are over a century old and that while the city has made great strides, they estimate local infrastructure needs $400 million worth of repairs.