Detroit raises cost of water as it shuts off water and sewage to 3,000 customers per month

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Good afternoon:

Shocking news from Detroit: Common Dreams is reporting that on Tuesday the Detroit City Council approved an 8.7% increase in the cost of water. This is the latest increase in a series of increases during the past decade that raised the cost of water by 119%.

This rate hike follows an announcement in March by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department that it would start turning off water for accounts that are past due. According to a late May Director’s Report from the DWSD, there were “44,273 shut-off notices sent to customers in April 2014” alone, resulting in “3,025 shut-offs for nonpayment, and additional collections of $400,000.”

The Detroit Free Press reports:

The average Detroit resident currently pays $64.99 per month for water and sewer charges, according to the department’s presentation at a public hearing last week. The rate hike will increase the average monthly bill, effective July 1, to $70.67 — an 8.7% increase.


The plan to increase rates comes as the water department faces public criticism for its efforts to shut off water service for delinquent customers.

The water department announced in March it was resuming efforts to shut off water service to more than 150,000 delinquent customers in order to collect about $118 million in outstanding bills. The department said it would target customers whose bills are more than two months late and would shut off about 3,000 customers a week.

Residents are having difficulty paying their monthly water bills because 14.5% of the population is unemployed, 40% of the population is living below the poverty line, and residential property owners have been devastated by the forfeiture crisis.

Common Dreams reports that residents are especially upset about the threat to shut off water and sewage because,

“When delinquent corporate water lines are still running without collection of funds, it demonstrates a level of intentional disparity that devalues the lives of the people struggling financially,” said Lila Cabbil, President Emeritus of the Rosa Parks Institute, which is part of the People’s Water Board. “Where is our compassion? Where is our humanity?”

The Metro Times describes the situation,

As we reported this week, the department will continue to cut service to roughly 3,000 delinquent customers per week who owe at least $150 to try recouping some $118 million in outstanding fees. The department has said upwards of 80,000 households are behind on their bill. According to DWSD representatives, they cut service to 7,056 residential and commercial accounts in April and May, which is “reaping great benefits with the department” — about $400,000.

That shouldn’t be how the department tries to generate revenue, says Maude Barlow, chairman of the Food & Water Watch Board and founder of Blue Planet Project.

“By denying water service to thousands, Detroit is violating the human right to water,” Barlow says in a statement this week. “After decades of policies that put businesses and profits ahead of the public good, the city now has a major crisis on its hands. It is shocking and abominable that anyone would be subjected to these conditions.”

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, who was appointed to power by Michigan Governor Rick Snyder in March 2013, wants to privatize the water company. He does not appear to be the least bit interested in pursuing a humanitarian approach.

The future is bleak for thousands of people who face the inevitable shut-off and cannot afford to move.

Rebuffed at home, organizations concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis have turned to the United Nations for assistance claiming that Detroit is violating a basic human right to clean water.

Here’s Common Dreams,

The Submission to the Special Rapporteur was released Wednesday by the Detroit People’s Water Board, the Blue Planet Project, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization and Food & Water Watch.

It calls for the “state of Michigan and U.S. government to respect the human right to water and sanitation” and for shut-offs to be halted, services restored, and water to be made accessible and affordable.

Never in my wildest paranoid nightmares did I envision people in a major urban center in the United States forced to drink unclean water and defecate in the streets.

Yet, after eliminating people’s jobs and stealing their homes, the rich are now determined to flog the poor by denying them clean water and sewage.

Do they not realize that feces in the street promotes disease and disease cannot be contained. Sooner or later they will reap the whirlwind caused by their evil greed and when at long last their wasted bodies are laid to rest, people will rejoice and dance on their graves.

BTW, the shameful mainstream media is ignoring this story.

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21 Responses to Detroit raises cost of water as it shuts off water and sewage to 3,000 customers per month

  1. ed nelson says:

    This is my addenda to my comment on Paducah Water Letter:

    “Liquid Gold”, that was the old euph for… ”’ ahl’ ”! AKA oil.

    Well too bad you had some ”Troll” activity… didn’t see much response to mine… not atroll notatroll not…

    And about the teeth fallin’ out etc. … Well how’s about gettin’ in line for the next remake of…. the movie: (with Burt Reynolds,) Deliverance.

    Take a quickie course in the Banjo, and Go For It! Teeth optional… ! haha

    But seriously: Do the folks really not know, about the way it goes as to the way, each city down stream is drinking what all those above put in there, and sad to say, the state of sewage treatment is too rudimentary, poor, and not able to take so much out of the drinking water.

    IE: the sewage plants don’t take out much of the pharmacueticals!!!!!

    Whether it is flushed down as left over unwanted product, or whether it is excreted!!!! it still goes into the stream, and the poor city down stream is drinkin’ it!!!!

  2. Second half.
    USA vs Portugal
    Portugal 1
    USA 0

  3. colin black says:

    Crane a few years ago the Cameroon team played in vests strip

    FIFA Banned them the strips not Cameroon.

    Ive been engrossed in the World Cup

    Me an Mine Betterhalf have been together so long we remember when Scotland last qualified.

    Belgium an Russia comeing up.

    Pity ENGLAND crashed and splattered L O L LOL L O L

    No seriouslly LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL..

  4. Followed by Truthout
    jean lievens ‏@jlievens 2m
    Apartheid in Detroit: Water For Corporations, Not For People | @scoopit via @KatrinaNation

    FashVelRealOgraphy ‏@EmeraudeALB 5m
    @Catherina_News @tohub @BradCabana @anaxarchos meanwhile Detroit’s water supplies are being cut off daily.

    Circle of Blue ‏@circleofblue 3h
    Council of Canadians urges #UN to take action against Detroit #Water Authority: @TheAtlantic

  5. colin, off topic:

    On another note, football/soccer is in full swing, and being a rabid dog when it comes to following the sport, even though I reside in the states, I am about to paint my face. Did I understand that you are a football fan?

    At any rate, I hear that Christian Ronaldo has issued a request with FIFA to play shirtless (snark alert, Fred believed it!) Seriously, it isn’t so much about who wins or loses, but feel free to freely issue speculation and opinions, post music, like “Another One Bites the Dust,” or links to tweets where people politely call the FIFA referees a bunch of “goats.” LOL!! I am loving the spirit of the World Cup, where, for once and for a change, people are united, and are not trying to figure out ways to kill each other, in the streets.

  6. colin black says:

    Im afraid to return in case of petulance or swarms of locusts an i am being serious……

    • colin black says:

      IT Didnt just affect Camelford but Boscastlel Tintagell an many other weeee villages an isolated homes.And it didnt take years as stated for people to die.
      The fucker didnt only cover it up for 3 weeks no 16 days,
      But said the water was safe an only a minor incoveiance with a slight metalic taste the only problem .

      And if worried boil the water????
      Wich only resulted in makeing it more consentrate an more lethall

      Or use a cordiall to mask the taste.?
      I have freinds Dead an others wheelchair bound because of thease callous bastards

      The only person held acountable was the lorry driver whom was mis informed over the phone wich man hole to dump in

      The left or right.

      However the exec on the phone didnt take into acount wich side he was parked on .
      It wasnt his regular job he was a stand in.

      So mis informed he dumped it into the wrong tank…

      Thing Is they knew what a catastophic health risk they caused chose to down play cover up

      And made sure there own Familys if in efected areas only drank bottled water.

  7. colin black says:

    fROM The analls of mine life u couldnt make this shit up if u had the best imagination In the universe.

    But this kinnda shit is common place an mundane for me

    How me an mine better half yearn for BOREDOM


    U cant be bored when u r being shelled in a war zone.Or faceing eviction an boredom does not compute.

    You can only be allegedly bored if your life is uneventfull at any given point.


    And I havent been since I was About two yrs old.

    Anyway few years back I lived In Boscastle Cornwall .
    Luckily I only drank beer at the time for liquids,But all my freinds consumed .Copious amounts of healthy water.

    Long story short and will attempt to find links

    Truck driver goes to water plant with huge container full of poisonus allimium nitrate or some such substance I I R C..

    There two covered manhole thingies nest two each other one is for dumping dangerous chemicals T Other leads direct into the mains water supply.

    Have you guessed what happens next?


    Truck Driver opens wrong manhole thingy an dumps tousands of gallons of alliminum nitrate into local Water Supply.

    Seven Freinds Died and they were the lucky ones .
    The rest about thirty Mates of mine there Hair turned Green there internals wreked and half died over the next decade .

    Teeth fell out became wheel chair an bed bound utter fucking tragedy .
    And all this was without reconpence as the court case dragged on for neary 18 years apeals back an forth.

    An in the end a measlt hundred grand is no reconpense when your dead.

    Tragic waste .

    So fast foward twenty odd years I still have freinds Survived in Boscastle think it was 2004

    Me an mine Better Half whom was still mobile drive down for a weeks holiday.

    We are chillin ootside a Pub an all of a sudden the Heavens open up.
    An Im talkink Biblical Shit Rain that would flatten you to the Ground an Ive lived in India I know monsoons.

    This was different and in the UK suddenly we feel a rumble like an earth tremmor ,
    And I turn and look to see a tusanami bearing down on us.

    Not from the sea wich is in front of us but from in land.

    I thought fuck this shit the water never got me all those years ago
    Now its comeing back for an encoure.

    Needless to say we survived had to get winched out by a helicopter .
    The car didnt though thats floating out somwhere mid atlantic at time of writting.

    An do you know I was never bored when me mates were dropping like flys.
    Or when I thought we were going to get swept away.

    My point though is both ocassions Water was the culprit

    Weird eh?

    • Oh, colin. Well first of all, it is so good to hear from you, excellent ground zero reporting, as always. When I ribbed with the satire on water a while back, I was only half-kidding. This is a very serious topic. Thank you very much for sharing your experience and insights on it, very much appreciated.

  8. racerrodig says:

    You know that I took a stand against the “big banks to big to fail” The problem is that far too many people simply don’t know what rights they have and how to fight back.

    I’ll say it again, with the predatory lending and mortgage fraud that is still rampant, everyone needs to do a little digging into the chain of title to their house and demand that the banks copy of the wet ink original Note and Mortgage be produced. Because of MERS involvement well over 50% of all mortgages are invalid.

    I pay for what I own, but when you are victimized as we were, a story far to long for here, THEY owe you.

  9. crazy1946 says:

    The cost of basic utilities (water, gas, electric) that are somewhat necessary to maintain a minimal existence has reached the point that the less affluent members of our society are suffering. While some may disagree, it is quite possible and not as difficult as some would think to survive without electricity. Water and disposal of waste water is quite another story, especially for those confined to the city life. Too bad the Christian’s (you know the ones, they founded this nation) are not digging into their pockets to help out their fellow man, especially since they keep saying it is not the governments job to help people. The next thing we will hear is that the poor in Detroit would be able to afford water if they did not spend all their money on expensive cell phones and such, right? Too bad we have such a dysfunctional congress, that is where help for these people should come from. I might suggest that a little cost cutting on the part of the utility service might allow them to reduce the cost of providing their service, little expenses that might be reduced to aid in relief. Money paid to management definitely needs to be looked at and adjusted to a level that better reflect the income of the average recipient of the service…

  10. Unfortunately, all signs point to things getting worse for some of the 99% before they get better. We need to stick together and push back to effect change. Getting big money out of politics would be a great start.

    • Malisha says:

      But the only way to get big money out of politics is with bigger money. This is simply the beginning of big money showing us what will be done to anybody trying to resist the return to feudal society. Detroit is a good target because the bail-out was supposed to be only for the banks and Wall St.; when Detroit said, “us too” they put themselves in line to get taught a hard lesson. That and the fact that they are Black, of course. Look out. It will not be pretty.

  11. MichelleO says:


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