A troubled metropolitan water and sewer department that serves 4.3 million people in southeast Michigan might finally get the support of Detroit’s populous — city and suburbs alike. U.S. District Judge John Feikens, who has controlled the department since 1977, when the EPA sewed Detroit to stop pollution of the Detroit River, hopes that the tentative agreement will unite the city’s quarrelsome factions before they enter a request for federal aid.
“I’m heartened and pleased that all of you have proven me right,” Feikens told his counterparts before the Detroit Free Press. “I know this was a long road, but it was worth it.” Feikens emphasizes that without solidarity the region will have a difficult time securing funding from Washington.
The deal includes a $200 to $300 million sale of a sewage interceptor from the city to the suburbs. It also addresses the $27 million Detroit borrowed from the water and sewer department to implement a post-9/11 emergency radio system. Most significantly, the potential agreement sets up a five member council — comprised of directors — that would mediate conflicts before they affected service delivery and function.
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Source: The Detroit Free Press