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Detroit water department warns against illegal hookups amid shutoffs

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DETROIT (WJBK) - Detroit water customers who are struggling to pay the water bill are finding some help - but it's illegal. Social media sites are now surfacing instructing people how to steal water.  

Deputy Director of Detroit Water and Sewerage Darryl Latimer says the city has become aware of the sites instructing customers how to illegally turn on city-supplied water, and is explaining what will happen if and when the offender is caught.

"With the illegal turn on, there is an additional cost of $250 on the first offense, $500 on the second offense and also with that second offense we disconnect your service and there's a $660 reconnect fee associated with that," Latimer says.

When the city does have to shut off water service, they're finding people that will follow the shut off crew, walk up to the customers and offer to turn the water back on for $50.

"Anyone that we catch reactivating our water service illegally, we will prosecute - but it should never come to that. If you're going to give a person to cut your water on illegally, you can come to the department, give us that $50, we can set up a payment arrangement for you and continue your service," Latimer says.

The city does perform shutoffs but they encourage anyone having trouble making ends meet to contact the water department.

The illegal water warning extends to turning on hydrants during hot days. You can damage the hydrant and can lower water pressure on your block.

The city says it has ways to monitor all water use, including illegal use which they already have caught people doing.

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