Detroit Area Problems-- systemic proof : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

As of Tuesday night, about six or seven suburbs of Detroit have been on rotating blackouts. The official word is that the heat has blown a couple transformers at the local sub-station. Businesses have all closed down , yet the most interesting fact that I have wotnessed is the domino effect of the problem. The water pumping station in the city was affected by similar bouts of low-voltage and has thus lowered water pressure in the lines. This can cause a build-up of bacteria in the supply. The police have been going around on bicycles and telling people to boil their water for 5 minutes-- it is not safe to drink! All schools in the vicinity have been let out for the day due to this. All businesses have been closed down. I think that this is a taste of things to come... just on a micro scale. -- Jake Ryder

-- Jake Ryder (, June 10, 1999


As if "proof" were needed... Good luck in Motown. Sounds like you'll need it.

-- regular (zzz@z.z), June 10, 1999.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the water problems are due to a water main puncture caused by workmen who "shouldn't have been working in the first place."

It highlights how vulnerable systems are and how bad it can get.

-- Sally Strackbein (, June 10, 1999.

Hey Y2K Pro, are you reading this? Kinda throws a wrench thru your rose colored glasses (smiling). Bye the way, where do you hale from?

-- MidwestMike_ (, June 10, 1999.

Don't bother with Y2Kazoo; she'll just tell ya to leave Detroit for a week at Disneyland or something. She claims Waco is her stomping grounds but that can't be true: if so, she'd have already left Texas, as she is obviously unfit for citizenship here: we're a pretty honorable group, on the whole.

-- Lisa (, June 10, 1999.

OK Morons, pay attention. Two separate, isolated incidents that occur within the same metropolitan area are NOT -- repeat NOT -- 'systemic proof'. It is called coincidence or just plain bad luck.

Here are the facts:

An underground power cable failed, resulting in rolling blackouts to 5,500 customers scattered in a few eastern suburbs of Detroit around Grosse Point, NOT blackouts to 6 or 7 suburbs. One of those customers happened to be the water filtration plant for Grosee Point and Grosse Point Farms so a water emergency was declared, meaning no outside watering. Water was NOT shut off, all businesses were NOT closed, and only a few schools were closed. There was no build up of bacteria nor any warnings to boil the water, just restrictions on water use as you might get during a dry spell.

In Auburn Hills (far NW suburb, ask a Motown native about how close it is to Grosse Point), a contracter laying cable for MCI drilled directly into a 42" water main, cutting off water to a significant part of Auburn Hills. Schools and businesses were closed and residents were warned to boil water until further notice, just like what happens when water mains break all over the country all the time.

This is proof of the "systemic" nature of systems only if your name is Gary North!

-- Do You See (, June 10, 1999.

I think the point here (of my previous post) is that it only took one crew of workmen making a mistake to puncture a water main and foul up the water for a lot of people for a significant period of time.

Imagine several crews of workmen (or programmers), working on embedded systems or on crashed software... No big deal one at a time, but compound it with a dozen or so in various hospitals, utilities, supermarkets, railroads, warehouses...

-- Sally Strackbein (, June 10, 1999.


I am from the planet of love. Would you like to snuggle with me for awhile?

Your buddy, Y2Kpro

-- Y2K Pro (, June 10, 1999.

Sounds just like some of us predict: if Y2K doesn't get us, some benighted fool with a backhoe will... We lost all telephone service to the other islands and the rest of the world for many hours a few weeks back because of one individual with a backhoe. It all goes to show that our infrastructure can be relatively fragile. The question is how fault tolerant is it?

-- Mad Monk (, June 10, 1999.

actually, the same type of thing happened in DeeCee (live in the burbs). i read in the Washington Post that the 3 main power cos around here, including PEPCO, had to run at pretty much capacity to keep up during the heat wave. in the same article, it was also mentioned that 2 different parts of DeeCee had EXTREME water pressure problems. in one part it was caused by a break, but the water co admitted it had NO IDEA what was causing the lack, yes lack, of water in the other section of town. not that it proves anything, but i noticed that it did happen here too.

-- sarah (, June 11, 1999.

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