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Detroiters Have 'No Right To Water': Appeal Pursued In Long-Running Dispute Over Water Shutoffs

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - Critics of Detroit's water shutoffs aren't giving up.

They're appealing court rulings that offered no relief to people who lost service over unpaid bills.

During Detroit's bankruptcy last year, Judge Steven Rhodes said there was no right to water. He said he also didn't have the power to keep taps open.

In March of 2014, WWJ reported that the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department was preparing a campaign to shut off service to 1,500 to 3,000 customers a week who are delinquent on bills.

The department targeted businesses, schools and commercial buildings ... roughly 323,900 Detroit accounts. As of March 6, 2014, nearly 165,000 of those accounts were overdue to the tune of $175 million. There are also more than 296,000 residential accounts — more than 154,000 of which are delinquent for $91.7 million.

Rhodes' decision was upheld in September by U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman. A notice of appeal to an appeals court in Cincinnati was filed Oct. 9. The next steps will take months.

After bad publicity and protests over shutoffs, Detroit last year announced payment plans and other ways for poor residents to maintain service. But there was no sweeping moratorium on shutoffs.


TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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