News Briefs: Detroit to Restore Water Service to Unpaid Customers During COVID-19 Outbreak

Also in this week's sewer and water news, a Wisconsin utility asks its customers to stop flushing hypodermic needles and disposable wipes

Newsweek reports that the city of Detroit recently announced plans to restore water service to thousands of homes that had been shut off for lack of payment in an effort to protect the community from the novel coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).

The city’s “water restart plant” started March 11 and will enable people to wash their hands during the COVID-19 outbreak thanks to a $25 per household reconnection fee paid by the state.

After 30 days, residents will be able to pay $25 per month to keep their water service for as long as the outbreak lasts.

Wisconsin Utility Asks Customers to Refrain From Flushing Needles

The La Crosse (Wisconsin) Wastewater Treatment Facility is asking the public to stop flushing hypodermic needles and disposable wipes, as operators have seen an increase in both items in the past five years, according to WXOW News.

In recent weeks, the utility’s superintendent says they’ve seen more needles and wipes than ever before, adding that they put workers at risk and can affect lift stations around the city.

“We might have to remove that clog which may have hypodermic needles in it,” says the superintendent. “This material eventually then is hauled out to the La Crosse County landfill and goes into the landfill which leachate comes from the landfill back to the plant, so it’s kind of a circle.”

South Carolina Utility Sues Customer for Water Quality Complaints

A utility in South Carolina is suing a customer who complained about her water quality, according to The State.

Jenkinsville Water Co. has seen a number of recent drinking water violations, but now the utility is suing a customer alleging she’s made false and reckless statements about water quality to the media and at public meetings that have damaged the utility’s reputation.

The customer says she’s telling the truth and refuses to recant statements where she claims there is a “causal connection” between the tap water and recent health problems in her household.

According to the suit, “the defendant has engaged in a public campaign of maliciously attacking Jenkinsville Water Co. by stating that the water … is substandard,” adding that the complaints “are false, defamatory and impugn the good reputation Jenkinsville Water Co. has with respect to the quality of its water.”


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