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Delinquent Water Bill FAQs

The Delinquent Water Billing Project began in August of 2006 with the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department ("DWSD") and the City of Detroit Finance/Treasury Division ("Treasury") collaborating to collect prior year delinquent water bills.  This collection effort is done on an annual basis.

In July of each year, DWSD notifies customers in writing that their delinquent balance will be forwarded to Treasury for collection if they do not pay by a stated date or make other satisfactory arrangements.  In August, DWSD removes the delinquent amount from the customer's account and refers it to Treasury for collection.

The Treasury Department begins its collection process by mailing letters to the address of the delinquent account in an effort to give the customer one final opportunity to pay in order to prevent placement of the delinquent amount on the tax bill.  Any delinquent account remaining unpaid after this deadline date is placed on the customer’s Winter Property Tax Bill.

What gives the City of Detroit the authority to do this?
State law, through the Municipal Water Lien Act (MCL 123.161), allows for placement of any delinquent water/sewer fees on the property’s tax bill as a lien for collection purposes.


How can I owe a delinquent water bill at the Treasury Department when my DWSD statement shows a credit?
As stated above, DWSD removed the delinquent water/sewer amount from the customer’s bill when it was referred to property taxes. That transaction was identified as a “CR” or credit on the bill. It simply means that it was taken off the water bill to be added to the property tax bill if not timely paid. Additionally, any payment of the delinquent amount mailed directly to DWSD and not to the Treasury Department was applied to any balance owed on the bill at that time. If the payment amount was more than the balance owed, a credit was issued and posted to the current water/sewer bill for the amount left over. This credit will be applied to the customer’s current water/sewer bills until it is exhausted.

How did you arrive at this delinquent amount?
DWSD identified and computed customers’ delinquent water/sewerage amounts from June 2011 through May 2012. If a customer was delinquent prior to June 1, 2011 or became delinquent after May 31, 2012, those delinquent amounts remained on the customer’s water/sewer bill with DWSD and were not referred to the Treasury Department for collection.


Delinquent water/sewer bills accumulated prior to June 2011

Delinquent amount remains on the customer’s DWSD account.

Contact DWSD for information regarding delinquencies accumulated during this time period.

Delinquent water/sewer bills accrued from June 1, 2011 through May 31, 2012

Delinquent amount has been removed from the customer’s DWSD account and transferred to the Treasury Department for collection through placement on the customer’s property tax bill.

Effective December 1, 2012, the delinquent amount is now included on the customer’s Winter Property Tax Bill and must be paid to the City of Detroit Treasury Department according to the instructions printed on the Property Tax Bill.

Delinquent water/sewer bills accrued after May 31, 2012

Delinquent amount remains on the customer’s DWSD account.

Contact DWSD for information regarding delinquencies accumulated during this time period.

My water is currently shut off. Can I pay the delinquent water amount to Treasury now to get my water turned back on?

As of December 1, 2012, DWSD is not requiring that the delinquent water/sewer amount referred to the Treasury Department be paid before water services can be restored. Contacting DWSD at (313) 267-8000 may restore services. Payment of any outstanding delinquency remaining on the account will be required or other satisfactory arrangements made.

I mailed the payment.  Why is it on my property tax bill?

The deadline for receiving payments was Friday, November 09, 2012.  Consideration was given for those who may have mailed their payment on November 09.  Therefore, payments were processed through November 16.  Any payments received after November 16th will be applied directly to the Winter Property Tax Bill.


What will happen if I don’t pay this bill?

The delinquent water/sewer amount is now considered to be a part of the total property tax bill. If the property tax bill is not paid by January 15, 2013, penalties and interest will be added to the total amount due. If the total amount due is not paid by February 28, 2013, it will be transferred to the Wayne County Treasurer for collection. The Wayne County Treasurer will begin foreclosure proceedings against the property in order to collect unpaid taxes and liens.