Another city considers leaving Detroit water system

Jun 24, 2014

Detroit provides water to more than four million people in southeast and mid-Michigan - but could lose many of its customers if water rates keep going up.
Detroit provides water to more than four million people in southeast and mid-Michigan - but could lose many of its customers if water rates keep going up.
Credit user rob zand / Flickr

Another city that gets its water from Detroit is talking about pulling out of the system.  

Greg Theokus  is Mayor Pro Tem of Grosse Pointe Park.

He says Detroit's water is already too expensive.

Grosse Pointe Park pays $1.5 million now for its water. That's up from $600,000 ten years ago.

Theokus says Grosse Pointe Park may have no choice, if Detroit water rates skyrocket due to the bankruptcy.

"I just really hope it can be resolved on a regional basis," says Theokus.  "I really do, because I think individual efforts at changing things don't work as well as a collective effort, particularly when the infrastructure's already in place."

Theokus estimates it might cost about $15 million to build a separate water treatment plant.  Paying that off over time would amount to $900,000 a year - plus about $350,000 operational costs on top of that.

That's less than Grosse Pointe Park is paying Detroit now for water, but Theokus says he still hopes to stay with the system.

Oakland County has also threatened to leave the Detroit water system.

Genessee County has already decided to leave, and has begun building its own separate pipeline.

Flint is now providing water to city residents from the Flint River, and it will tap into the Genessee County pipeline when that is completed.