Detroit water department goes after delinquent businesses

At least 40 commercial, industrial accounts are more than 60 days overdue on water bills


DETROIT – The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department is keeping the pressure on people and now businesses behind on their water bills.

The department is sending warning letters this week to its commercial and industrial customers with accounts more than 60 days overdue.

"This isn't new. We shut it off every year. For some reason it's getting lanced this year. That's what you do in the water industry. You go out to any of the community, and in the suburban communities, and they shut you off," said Darryl Latimer, the department's deputy director.

Take a look at the top 40 delinquent accounts for businesses.

View/download: Top 40 accounts more than 60 days overdue

Included in the top five is the State of Michigan Department of Management and Budget (State of Michigan-DMB) which owes a whopping $5 million. In the No. 2 spot is Vargo Golf, owing $478,207.59, and No. 3 is EQ Detroit, Inc. which owes $270,914.11. Shelbourne Square Apartments and Metro Livernois LLC round out the top five.

Latimer said it's time for all customers to pay up.

"The reason for that is we're trying to control rates," he said. "It's not fair to our customers who are paying that we continue to raise rates because of bad debt."

The department has a team of about 30 members who are in charge of shutting off water for residential customers. A different team is in charge of shutting off water for commercial and industrial customers. Latimer said it's a lot more difficult to shut off businesses versus residents. It takes a few more hours to do it.