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Highland Park, GLWA close to a deal to end unpaid water bill dispute

Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio

There’s a deal to settle a decade-long dispute over unpaid water bills between the city of Highland Park and the Great Lakes Water Authority.


A tentative deal to settle the $55 million dispute was approved Wednesday night by the Highland Park city council. The GLWA board is expected to vote on the deal next week.

“An agreement will help move this community move forward, lower costs, and implement a fairer system for surrounding communities,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

Repairing the city’s nearly 120-year-old water infrastructure is a key component of the deal.

According to the governor’s office, it’s estimated Highland Park "loses about 70% of its water due to inadequate infrastructure."


Under the tentative agreement, the state of Michigan has committed to funding major infrastructure repairs in Highland Park and within the GLWA service area.

The State of Michigan has committed to:

  • Fund installation of master water and temporary sewer meters in Highland Park.
  • Fund water main and service line replacement efforts within Highland Park.
  • Release a $25 million sewer infrastructure grant for GLWA that was previously appropriated.
  • Fund a $5 million grant for GLWA for drinking water infrastructure.
  • Revise the administrative consent order to include settlement terms under EGLE.

A GLWA spokesperson said the tentative agreement represents a “fresh start.”

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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