Drinking Water Warning Issued for City in Michigan

A township in Michigan has issued a water advisory after officials reported a “security breach” at the local water treatment plant Monday morning.

Residents in Sylvan Township, which is located in Washtenaw County less than 20 miles west of Ann Arbor, were warned by the county’s sheriff’s department in a social media post Monday morning that a “Do Not Drink Water Advisory” was in place due to an “incident” at the Sylvan Township Water Treatment Plant.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office made a second announcement Monday afternoon that officials “discovered a security breach of the water treatment plant Monday morning” and that “damage was done to the interior of the plant including tampering of the controls system.”

“There is evidence of other attempts to damage local infrastructure,” read the announcement, which was shared to Facebook. “Township officials are working with local law enforcement and state officials to investigate. There is no visual evidence the water was contaminated, but testing needs to be done to confirm.”

Michigan State Police said in a post to X, formerly Twitter, that troopers were dispatched to the water treatment plant at approximately 7 a.m. ET after employees reported that the plant had been broken into. The responding officers observed the suspect, a 33-year-old male from Belleville, Michigan, exiting the treatment plant while taking a report of the incident.

The suspect, who was arrested as he exited the building, appears to have “gained entry onto the property by cutting through a barbed wire fence,” state police said. He was lodged at the Washtenaw County Jail on numerous charges.

“Upon making entry into the building he spray-painted the windows in what appeared to be an attempt to not be seen in the building,” police added. “He also created a makeshift bed from items in the building.”

During the water advisory, residents who receive their water from the Sylvan Township treatment plant should avoid drinking or using tap water, including for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth, preparing food, making ice and giving water to pets. Bottled water should be used instead until the advisory is lifted.

“Please notify the township water officials at [734 475-8890 ext. 112] promptly if you notice any changes in the quality of your water,” read the announcement from the sheriff’s office.”If you have noticed any suspicious activity related to tampering with public infrastructure in the community, please contact local law enforcement at 810-227-1051.”

Newsweek reached out to the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office via email for additional information via email.

Drinking Water Warning Issued in Michigan Township
This image shows a woman filling up a glass of tap water. Residents in Sylvan Township were advised not to drink the tap water after a “security breach” at the local water treatment plant.

Antonio Guillem/Getty Images