On August 22, 2004, a portion of the Romeo Arm Interceptor sewer, an eleven-foot-diameter, 65-foot deep, concrete sewer pipe suddenly collapsed on 15 Mile Road just west of Hayes Road in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The Romeo Arm Interceptor is part of the larger Oakland Macomb Interceptor, which serves 830,000 residents in Oakland and Macomb counties. The collapse created a giant sinkhole that was more than 50 feet deep and hundreds of feet wide. The growing sinkhole threatened to cause the collapse of nearby homes in the Villa Fontana Subdivision. As the sinkhole spread, police evacuated the nearby homes and closed off access to nearby businesses. In response to the emergency, the Detroit Water and Sewage District (“DWSD”) contracted with Inland Waters Pollution Control, Inc. (“Inland”), to repair the sewer.
Inland then contracted with L. D’Agostini & Sons, Inc. (“D’Agostini”), which served as a first responder to the emergency too, among other duties, create a temporary limited bypass system, construct a tangent pile caisson shaft 60’ wide by 280’ long around the area of the collapsed sewer and reconstruct the damaged portion of the interceptor and restore flow to the system. With the interceptor carrying as much as 30 to 55 million gallons of combined storm and wastewater daily, the repair project called for emergency around-the-clock work for eight months, involving dozens of contractors, suppliers, utility companies, engineers and others to reconstruct the collapsed interceptor and restore full flow in the system and thereby eliminate the serious threat that the collapsed sewer posed to persons and property.