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DWSD will temporarily halt controversial water shutoffs

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department will stop shutting off water service to people with unpaid bills.  

Curtrice Garner is a DWSD spokeswoman.  She insists this is a “pause," not a moratorium, to give people time to pay their overdue water bills.

“What we are going to do is temporarily stop the shutoffs or collections efforts,” says Garner, “However, after the 15 day period, we’ll commerce what we were doing which is shutting off those who are in delinquent status.”

Garner says in the past month, more than 7,000 Detroit water customers have had their water shut off.  She adds that about half have paid their delinquent bills and had their water service restored.

The water shutoff campaign has sparked numerous protests and at least one lawsuit. 

Garner insists the backlash is not the reason why the department is pausing shutoffs for 15 days.

“I would say it’s not being driven by that at all,” says Garner. “I would say it’s being driven by the fact that people are calling our customer assistance center.”

Garner says there are still about 70,000 delinquent DWSD accounts.  

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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