Activists asking United Nations for help amid Detroit water shut - New York News

Activists asking United Nations for help amid Detroit water shutoffs

Posted: Updated:
  • Activists asking United Nations for help amid Detroit water shutoffsMore>>

  • Protests amid more Detroit water shutoffs

    Protests amid more Detroit water shutoffs

    Friday, June 27 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-06-27 19:28:02 GMT
    Protesters made their voices heard Thursday on Randolph Street, insisting the city is violating human rights by shutting off water service to delinquent customers. At least 50,000 shutoff notices have been sent out in recent months.
    Protesters made their voices heard Thursday on Randolph Street, insisting the city is violating human rights by shutting off water service to delinquent customers. At least 50,000 shutoff notices have been sent out in recent months.
  • Detroit water department responds to water shutoffs

    Detroit water department responds to water shutoffs

    Tuesday, June 24 2014 6:48 PM EDT2014-06-24 22:48:45 GMT
    The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department released a statement responding to the "misinformation about water shut offs and suburban water rates."
    The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department released a statement responding to the "misinformation about water shut offs and suburban water rates."
DETROIT (WJBK) -  The Detroit Water Department is shutting off service to people who will not or cannot pay their bills. Now, activists are appealing to the United Nations to get involved, alleging Detroit is committing human rights violations.

A Canadian group collaborating with Detroit activists has submitted an official complaint to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights, trying to pressure the city to stop the shut offs.

"Water is a common good and it should stay a common good," says Maureen Taylor, who runs the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. She says she's tired of the city shutting off water to poor people who can't afford to pay their bills.

"What kind of government will allow for water to be turned off where there are women and children? It's just unconscionable," she says.

"If water is a human right, I mean, I'm fine with that. If someone can show me a way to provide the service where it's free, and we would do that, but there's a cost associated with providing this service," says Darryl Latimer, deputy director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

He says most Detroit customers are paying their bills but around 35 percent are not, and if they are more than 60 days past due and owe more than 150 dollars they have 10 days to pay, make arrangements or face shut off.

"The department is trying to be proactive because we don't want to execute shutoffs. We want customers to come in and make payment arrangements. But, for some reason, it seems as though it's been reported that we're doing this mass shutoff effort and these shutoffs have always went out every month so it's not anything that's new," Latimer says.  

But Latimer admits given the bankruptcy there is a renewed push to get those bills paid.

The department says in May they sent out 46,000 shutoff notices and cut off water to around 8,000 people, most of whom paid their bills right after it happened. He says an aging infrastructure and failure of people to pay mean the monthly cost of water here is close to double the national average of around $40.

RELATED: Detroit water department responds to water shutoffs
    
"You heard a report of a 9 percent increase in rates - most of that is due to bad debt associated with uncollectibles. So, we're trying to get that number under control so that we can control rate increases," Latimer says.

Latimer says the department is trying to get cost sunder control but if people are unable to pay they will work on a payment plan with them.

Fox 2 Detroit has not heard back from the United Nations yet but the coalition involved in the effort is hoping to not only draw attention to this issue but also apply pressure and even impact the country's human rights effort if no action is taken.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department released a statement responding to the "misinformation about water shut offs and suburban water rates." You can view that full statement here.

  • Amy LangeMore from Amy LangeMore>>

  • Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor charged with domestic violence

    Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor charged with domestic violence

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 5:18 PM EDT2014-09-10 21:18:53 GMT
    Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Stevens, 50, was arrested Sunday at his Macomb County home, after his wife called 911 claiming that he assaulted her.
    Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Stevens, 50, was arrested Sunday at his Macomb County home, after his wife called 911 claiming that he assaulted her.
  • Friends mourn murdered Bloomfield Twp. man

    Friends mourn murdered Bloomfield Twp. man

    Wednesday, September 10 2014 12:14 AM EDT2014-09-10 04:14:50 GMT
    Friends of murdered Bloomfield Twp mourn 77-year-old Billy Whitelaw who was found dead in his Knoll Pointe condo just days ago.
    Friends of murdered Bloomfield Twp mourn 77-year-old Billy Whitelaw who was found dead in his Knoll Pointe condo just days ago.
  • Judge says possible resolution in Bashara murder case

    Judge says possible resolution in Bashara murder case

    Monday, September 8 2014 9:34 PM EDT2014-09-09 01:34:15 GMT
    Bob Bashara was back in court today for what was supposed to be the final conference before his trial starts for the brutal murder of his wife. However, in court today, Wayne County Circuit court judge Vonda Evans suggested that Bashara consider accepting a plea deal that was discussed privately in the her chambers.
    Bob Bashara was back in court today for what was supposed to be the final conference before his trial starts for the brutal murder of his wife. However, in court today, Wayne County Circuit court judge Vonda Evans suggested that Bashara consider accepting a plea deal that was discussed privately in the her chambers.
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Schumer proposes ban on 10 flame retardants

    Schumer proposes ban on 10 flame retardants

    Sunday, September 14 2014 10:42 PM EDT2014-09-15 02:42:47 GMT
    Gov. Andrew CuomoGov. Andrew Cuomo
    Senator Charles Schumer says a Duke University study has found flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children's products like toys, pajamas and pillows to be highly toxic. The chemicals have also been linked to developmental delays and rare cancers in firefighters as well as cancers and hormone disruption in children.
    Senator Charles Schumer says a Duke University study has found flame retardants in upholstered furniture and children's products like toys, pajamas and pillows to be highly toxic. The chemicals have also been linked to developmental delays and rare cancers in firefighters as well as cancers and hormone disruption in children.
  • Electricity goes out at Six Flags, guests left stranded

    Electricity goes out at Six Flags, guests left stranded

    Sunday, September 14 2014 6:50 PM EDT2014-09-14 22:50:36 GMT
    Six Flags Great Adventure 45th anniversary logo. (AP photo)Six Flags Great Adventure 45th anniversary logo. (AP photo)
    It wasn't the amusement park thrill they were expecting. Some people at Great Adventure in New Jersey were left stranded on rides after a power outage.
    It wasn't the amusement park thrill they were expecting. Some people at Great Adventure in New Jersey were left stranded on rides after a power outage.
  • Stranded jet skiers rescued off Staten Island

    Stranded jet skiers rescued off Staten Island

    Sunday, September 14 2014 6:43 PM EDT2014-09-14 22:43:09 GMT
    Two jet skiers stranded since Saturday night were rescued from small islands off of Staten Island Sunday morning, police sources said. The FDNY Marine division discovered the first jet skier on the West Bank Lighthouse island while patrolling the area after 8 a.m. Sunday, and took him to Staten Island University Hospital North. His friend, a man in his 40s, was also saved.
    Two jet skiers stranded since Saturday night were rescued from small islands off of Staten Island Sunday morning, police sources said. The FDNY Marine division discovered the first jet skier on the West Bank Lighthouse island while patrolling the area after 8 a.m. Sunday, and took him to Staten Island University Hospital North. His friend, a man in his 40s, was also saved.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices