With Half Of City Residents Delinquent, Detroit Restarts Water Shut-Offs

Tyler Durden's picture

"Utility disconnection is always considered a last resort, obviously because of consequences for households," but as Detroit News reports, but water-providers can expect more controversy, as a month-long moratorium against shutting off water for those behind on their bills expired last night. Halting service to people that don't pay generate outrage among not just Detroit residents but a wider audience who proclaim 'water should be a right'. However, as one utility director noted, "We've seen a lot more payments...They need that little kick in the pants to get in here and do it." Water industry experts say cities with high delinquency rates sometimes have few other effective options for getting customers to catch up on their bills. Roughly half of Detroit’s 170,000 customers were delinquent as of last spring.


Water utilities in Detroit can expect more controversy as Detroit News reports,

...a monthlong moratorium against shutting off water for those behind on their bills expires at the end of the day Monday.


Crews are set to resume water shutoffs Tuesday after weeks of promoting how residents behind on their bills can get on a payment plan or get help paying.


Other Metro Detroit cities, facing a financial pinch from unpaid bills, have gotten results by halting service to people who don’t pay.

With some success...

“Last summer, we shut it off for the first time ever,” Square said. Service was stopped to 150 homes, and 350 other customers paid up to avoid being cut off.


The result: Hamtramck’s water fund now has a $1.8 million surplus, Square said.


“We’ve seen a lot more payments,” said Randall Blum, Eastpointe’s finance director. “They need that little kick in the pants to get in here and do it.”

But [shutting off water], which has produced some positive results,
generated outrage among some people in Detroit and beyond, who say
access to water should be a right

But as the companies themselves note, its simply not viable...

“It’s not viable to let paying the water bill come to be seen as an option,” said Tom Curtis, deputy executive director of government affairs for the American Water Works Association, which represents more than 4,800 water systems nationwide.


“The utilities have an obligation to the broader city to make sure the utility is viable and sustainable to serve all the residents and business,” Curtis said. “You can’t let uncollected bills go on and on without a significant consequence.”


Utilities have fixed costs, and someone must help cover those expenses to maintain service, said Bob Raucher, who studies the economics of water for Stratus Consulting of Boulder, Colorado.


“There’s so much neglected infrastructure and so many regulatory requirements that the problems are compounding. If they aren’t selling water and people aren’t paying their bills, they still have these fixed obligations,” said Raucher. “It’s a real conundrum everywhere. Detroit is an extreme case.”

The numbers remain high...

In a release Monday, the department said about 24,400 residents are on payment plans.


Detroit suspended water service to nearly 17,000 residents from March to late July, when officials temporarily halted shut-offs.Many of those whose service was cut brought their accounts up to date quickly, and their water was restored.


Detroit’s average residential delinquency is $540 and the average monthly household bill is about $75.


Roughly half of Detroit’s 170,000 customers were delinquent as of last spring.




“We give customers a certain amount of leniency in their bills,” said spokeswoman Sarah Holsapple.


“Of course, if they haven’t paid after a certain amount of time, we’d have to shut off their water. That’s our absolute last resort.”

*  *  *
Free water is a right? And so are 49ers season tickets... oh wait.

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NOTaREALmerican's picture

Well, too bad they don't have any DowBuck.   You can buy allot of water with DowBucks at 17k+. 

Gringo Viejo's picture

"Speakin' of the city, it ain't no place for women. Because pretty men go thar".

WC Fields "The Fatal Glass Of Beer"

Four chan's picture

i live in the city and it would look like ghana if blacks had their way. its not about race its about stupidity.

0b1knob's picture

Ghana looks like paradise compared to Detroit.

James_Cole's picture

Water bills up 120% over the past decade in Detroit.

I guess it's OK when they shutting off black peoples water in Detroit (them takers!! 49er tickets ain't free neither!!!) just don't complain when they come after you next. 

Last year the EPA estimated that $335 billion would be needed to fix the country’s aging water supply system in the next few decades, according to the New York Times. But where that money will come from is unknown. 

Wait'll your 'middle class' income gets hit with that...y'all takers! That shit ain't free!!

MisterMousePotato's picture

I don't drink water 'cause fish shit in it. (WCF.)

Divided States of America's picture

Detroit may become a large scale version of Ferguson if people dont get access to drinking water....and there is nothing the cops can do about that when survival is at risk.

Its funny how many things are going on right now in the world with the blacks. First ebola in Africa, and then the Ferguson shooting and now Detroit. Society is definitely degrading quickly as we speak and the underprivleged and poor are the first ones to get the shaft.

Four chan's picture

well there is always paying your water bill. that might be too big a concept for the democrats.

Pool Shark's picture



Or walk 10 minutes to the Detroit River with a 5-gallon bucket; bring it home and boil it.

Seriously, how did the pioneers ever survive without modern plumbing?...


SilverIsKing's picture

The pioneers have all died.

COSMOS's picture

The Residents of Detroit need to take by force the GOLAN HEIGHTS of the North, ie the Great Lakes.  Then they will have all the water they need and they can make money charging the Canucks for water after that.  That money will be good for the Detroit economy.  Who cares about the Canucks, they are the Syria of the American continent lol

mkkby's picture

How hard is it to turn a valve after your water has been shut off?  Long socket wrenches on broom sticks.

unemployed's picture

Whiners,  just how much cost shifting is going around,  75 a month average for water bill when the same utility says it is 23 a month for water  and 30 a month for sewer.

    Suburban white flighters paying a much lower monthly charge while the folk with the government corporate boot on their neck have to pay more and

    the white flighters frigging Ponzi pensions at the same time?


 This is what happens in any Ponzi,  whether it is the city of Detroit or the money out of thin air US banking system.  the early bag holders have more to complain about,  but rest assured,  the Ponzi is coming to all of us.

StychoKiller's picture

Piffle!  Bills only recognize one color:  GREEN!

Pretty sure that Saltine-Americans will get their water shut off too if'n dey don't pay dey billz!

lester1's picture

Gotta have those Air Jordans and other bling first !!

SemperFudge's picture

I'm sure they think it's "funny" too.

migra's picture

Then by all means let Detroit burn to the fucking ground so we can start over again and get its current inhabitants sent to Cleveland someplace. 


Burning Detroit to the ground would be an improvement over its current state.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

Wait'll your 'middle class' income gets hit with that..

It is kind of hard to run an office or manufacturing facility when there is no water. Yep, downward spiral.

MalteseFalcon's picture

"Water bills up 120% over the past decade in Detroit."

You'd think Lake Michigan was empty. 

We need water infrastructure projects all over the country.  Print the money, hire and train workers, build the projects and solve the problems.  Perfect solution? No.  Better than printing and handing to banks.  Yes, easily.

Get some hydroelectric power while you're at it.  Save the planet.

But it won't happen, because Nestle and other vultures have other plans.

Professorlocknload's picture

How much of that is pissed away by union bureaucracies?

MalteseFalcon's picture

Who said unions would be involved?

Anyway a lot less than that pissed away by bankers. 

You get a jump started economy in the bargin.

MalteseFalcon's picture

So what's the problem here?  Is it unions or negroes or some other aspect of your ideology?  You'd rather the money go to banks then?

toady's picture

The problem is all of the above. How about your own well? It's the only way to go as far as I'm concerned. Get on a city grid and you end up with graft. Union graft, (building, maintaining) government, (can't even begin to count the graft there!) citizens, (not paying bills), all fucking each other over the money. My well is free, other than a well pump every 30 to 40 years. If you can't afford that you deserve the system you sign up with, or to die of thirst. Your choice.

MalteseFalcon's picture

I'm not sure that individual well water can serve a city the size of Detroit.

toady's picture

Good luck city of Detroit then. And any city that requires me to be involved in a group paying for water.

Divided States of America's picture

No way..according to the Fed, the money they 'create out of thin air' should be used by banks and hedgies run by their buddies like Ackman, Icahn, Fink to buy options on companies about to be bought out or biotech that has leaked FDA announcements....water infrastructure in cities??? that doesnt generate enough returns worthy of THEIR investment...and they probably go "who the fuck cares about the rest of the people if they have access to water or not" as long as money is to be made."

BandGap's picture

Get a map. Detroit gets their water from Lake Huron, the other side of the state.

You are never more than 5 miles away from a body of fresh water when you are in Michigan. More coastline than the entire Eastern Seaboard. So yes, in a way this is ridiculous.

But how's this - Chicago (which does get their water from Lake Michigan) has only a weeks worth of chlorine to treat their water. That's all they keep in stock.

Could get bad.

deflator's picture

 Hey, you know when your tap water has a strong chlorine smell doesn't mean they put too much chlorine in at the treatment plant--it means the water is contaminated. The stronger the chlorine smell, the higher the levels of contamination of probably urine and feces.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Hah, that's nothing - in many municipalities CSO runoff can only be fought with exponentially more funding. My blue state coastal community charges me $120/mo for water with the lions share going to the sewerage. Still have beach closures and many red tide stank days. 120% in a decade you say? I think I can beat that to the tune of 300% or more, but I'm white so shut up and pay, right? I should be happy to subsidize someone elses water so their kid can shower before going off to the "free" school breakfast and lunch. 

James_Cole's picture

Still have beach closures and many red tide stank days. 120% in a decade you say? I think I can beat that to the tune of 300% or more, but I'm white so shut up and pay, right? 

Yeah probably, they've been going after the blacks first, test run of shock and awe cause no one seems to give a shit what happens to them. But don't worry, they're coming for all of y'all. Most here seem aware of the latter but deny the former. 

And where are you located with a 300% move in water prices? Water ain't exactly scarce in detroit, and the demand ain't really there either. 

Overfed's picture

Just like most places, when ya' use one gallon of water, they charge ya' to dispose of 10 gallons.

snr-moment's picture

So.....the EBT cards weren't free after all?  And repaving roads wasn't the most effective shovel ready job?  Whooda know'd?

roadhazard's picture

"...when they come after you".

I have a well.

James_Cole's picture

Many ways to skin a cat. 

NotApplicable's picture

Sure, they've got a right to water. All they gotta do is take a bucket down to the lake and fetch it.

CheapBastard's picture

"It's my right! You owe me!"


Black Student Holds Protest After Getting Rejected From University Of Michigan




James_Cole's picture

"Deez whites is oppressed!"

White student sues over affirmative action after being rejected from University of Texas 


knukles's picture

I'm thinkin' a fuckin' suing everybody because I'm a gettin' tired of all this shit.

Pure Evil's picture

Well, don't get carried away and start suing yourself.

Son of Loki's picture

The FSA sees their "rights" different then most other people. Anyone see the film, "Precious?"

Chump's picture


What's that?  It takes time and energy to get that water back home and make it potable?  Funny, that.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Yeah - if only they had the time...

Handful of Dust's picture

Their local restaurants and FF establishments will be packed with peeples using the bathroom and asking/taking water.

Dewey Cheatum Howe's picture

Gyms with their $20 a month memberships and free showers should see a spike. I'd be investing health clubs in and around Detroit right about now or opening a few up myself.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Shower once per day at the gym and drink all you can hold; piss in the street and shit in a coffee can - I like it!

If I can learn to sleep under a tarpoleon I'll be able to ditch the house and mortgage.

Herodotus's picture

Many blacks have an aversion to water.  Most can't swim.

FredFlintstone's picture

Your down-voter is an ignoramus:

A 2010 study by the USA Swimming Foundation and the University of Memphis reported that nearly 70 percent of African-American children do not know how to swim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African-American children between the ages of 5 and 14 are almost three times more likely to drown than white children. Around 40 percent of white children and 60 percent of Hispanic children do not know how to swim.

Some would rather ignore a problem than acknowledge and address it.

RafterManFMJ's picture

The reason blacks cannot swim is raycissism.