Residents face shutoffs while water spews from abandoned building


DETROIT – It sounds like a fountain and it sort of is -- a makeshift one. Water is gushing almost 20-feet into the air from pipes in an old abandoned factory on Detroit's west side, near Humboldt and Buchanan.

A sharp eyed neighbor tipped Local 4 off to the geyser, wondering why residential customers are being shut off while the massive waste of water is going on.

Local 4 called the Detroit Water Department. They said they would check into the problem and several hours later the gushing water in that abandoned building was turned off.

DWSD has come under fire from activists who say it's inhumane to turn of people's water. The problem is that many of those residential customers haven't been paying their bills for months; In some cases more than a year.

Eric Williams saw DWSD cut him off Tuesday afternoon because he was several months late. He was outraged and had not received a shut off notice.

"You wanna cut off a working man's water with no notice?" he said.

The utility is no longer willing to let the bills go unpaid, so shut-off crews are in the process of cutting them off. There have been many complaints about poor billing practices by DWSD. The utility told Local 4 once the shut-offs go into effect people are starting to make payments on those overdue bills and they are restoring service. 

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