Detroit will end water shutoffs for the duration of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Mayor Mike Duggan, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the city's Water and Sewerage Department announces a Coronavirus Water Restart Plan to restore service and prevent new interruptions at no initial cost to customers during the national infectious disease watch.
Residents can start calling Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency on Wednesday at (313) 386-9727 to restore service.
For first 30 days, the state will cover costs to restore water. After 30 days, shut-off customers without can have it restored for $30 a month and those at risk and not in a payment plan can avoid service interruption.
To date, Michigan has not reported cases of the virus.
Detroit has shut service to more than 141,000 residential accounts since 2014 as part of a payment collections campaign. Two weeks ago, an official said there is no evidence of widespread health impacts:
"The Detroit Health Department has found no association between service interruptions and an epidemic of any reportable communicable disease,” Denise Fair, Detroit's chief public health officer, wrote Bridge Magazine in an email. "Furthermore, there is no clear data to suggest whether or not there are other health risks related to water service interruptions."
Monday's announcement brings this reaction on Twitter from Nicholas Payne:
"Charging *only* $25/month after the first 30 days? Only? Why is their water so expensive?! They're on the largest freshwater reservoir on Earth! I'm nowhere near one and my water bill last month was $17.70."
The mayor tweets:
We deeply appreciate @GovWhitmer’s support and leadership on this issue. As long as COVID-19 remains a health concern, no Detroit resident should have concerns about whether their water service will be interrupted. pic.twitter.com/0zpDbqa6xj— Mayor Mike Duggan (@MayorMikeDuggan) March 9, 2020