Baltimore begins 25,000 water shutoffs

The City of Baltimore is in the process of cutting off water to some 25,000 residents with unpaid water bills of $250 or more.

They will be unable to bathe their children, wash their hands or flush their toilers.  Evidently the city government has forgotten the reason to have a public water supply in the first place, which is to prevent the spread of disease.

PRTHUMB_WaterAccessStreet1City officials like Department of Public Works director Rudy Chow claim that residents using water without paying are to blame for the $40 million in overdue water bills.

In fact, the Baltimore Sun found more than a third of the unpaid bills stem from just 369 businesses, who owe $15 million in revenue, while government offices and nonprofits have outstanding water bills to the tune of $10 million.

One of those businesses, RG Steel (now bankrupt) owes $7 million in delinquent water bills all by itself.

via ThinkProgress.

The City of Detroit started similar water shutoffs, but backed down after an international outcry.

People are obligated to pay their bills if they are able.  But there should be better ways to collect than depriving people of a necessity of life or, for that matter, creating a public health hazard.


Baltimore collects $1 million in unpaid water bills by Yvonne Wenger for the Baltimore Sun.

Don’t shut off our drinking water, a Baltimore Sun editorial.

This City Could Become the Next Detroit by Carl Gibson for ThinkProgress.  (Hat tip to Avedon’s Sideshow)

The Inequality of Water by Sam Ross-Brown for The American Prospect.

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2 Responses to “Baltimore begins 25,000 water shutoffs”

  1. Holden Says:

    This is a toughie. A $250 water bill is pretty hefty… but yes. What happens if you start cutting off the basics to people, especially those that are going to adversely effect the public as a whole and could cause the spread of disease?


  2. thetinfoilhatsociety Says:

    Water may be a basic human right, but public sewer and water is NOT. I watched the video of the protestors in Detroit and what struck me was the number of women who were complaining that they were on welfare and couldn’t afford the bills, yet they were wearing expensive jewelry, had fake nails, and perfectly done hair. PLEASE. Whatever. Funny how you can afford that stuff but not the water bills.


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