Detroit water customers shut off, even though bills are paid up

James Hill came home after a long day, fed his dog, tried to get ready for the evening, went to wash his hands there was just one problem, no water.

"Computer glitches happen, but it kind of sucks when you're on the other end of it," said James Hill.

The glitch Hill is referring to happened Wednesday and shut off water for about a dozen Detroiters whose bills are current. You heard me right, they don't owe any dough for their H2O.

"When I went to go wash my putty knife, whoops no water," said Courtney Harmon-Taylor. "So, I was like, what in the heck is going on. I called the water department and they said 'well, they cut your water off,' and I was like why? My bill isn't due till April 6."

Courtney Harmon-Taylor said she was concerned the new boiler and hot water heater she installed in the home she bought from the land bank might be ruined without water service on a cold night, so she slept on this mattress till water department workers arrived around 2:30 a.m.

Hill and Harmon-Taylor's problem was first reported by Steve Neavling of Motor City Muckraker. Daryl Latimer from the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department said his crew sprung into action.

"Well, we started getting calls later in the evening, we worked through the night, we worked and got most of the customers restored by two a.m. We want to apologize to those customers and we're going to make sure this doesn't happen again," said Daryl Latimer, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Harmon-Taylor left Oregon for Detroit about five years ago. She sees opportunity in a neighborhood that has seen hard times. So it's going to take more than the city turning your water off, for you to get turned off on the city.

"I would say that's about right," said Harmon-Taylor.

Hill is a long-time Detroit and as a reporter and editor at the Detroit Free Press, he's familiar with the city's occasional foibles and he's a very forgiving gentleman.

"My faith and my water are restored," said Hill.

Now that all the customers water has been restored, Detroit officials say this is one problem they're happy to put behind.   

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