Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr gives power over Detroit Water and Sewerage to Mayor Duggan

DETROIT (WXYZ) - Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr issued a new order increasing Mayor Duggan's power over Detroit's Water and Sewerage Department.

The order gives the mayor authority to manage the DWSD and make appointments to the Board of Water Commission.

A press release Tuesday reads “This order provides additional clarity to the powers already delegated to the Mayor,” Orr said. “As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department works to operate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers, it is important to ensure there are clear lines of management and accountability. This order ensures a common focus on customer service and sound management practices that reflects the City’s commitment to refocusing its efforts to help DWSD customers get and remain current on their water bills.”

You can read the full order here: www.detroitmi.gov/EmergencyManager.

On the day that Orr turned over control of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to Mayor Duggan, it is clear customer service needs to improve. 

7 Action News found a big apartment building at 850 Whitmore on Detroit's west side that had the water shut off Monday morning. This shutoff affected 44 units, dozens of families with children and older people on medication. 

The manager of the building says they got no shutoff notice from the city and the $1,600 bill was paid a few days past the first due date. What they paid included the 5% surcharge. They say they then paid a second time - in effect paying in advance. 

City officials told 7 Action News the water would be turned back on and it was at 5:30 p.m. 

Mayor Mike Duggan told reporters he want to make sure the water department is more responsive to customers. He knows of cases where people called in on shutoff notices and were on hold for an hour and a half and others were people who came in person had to wait too long. 

The mayor also says people who can pay need to. Assistance programs are available to those who can't. 

The mayor says the moratorium on shutoffs does not apply to commercial customers. That would include apartment buildings. 

When the moratorium expires next week, Mayor Duggan says he will then decide whether to extend it. 

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