Judge Ends Court Oversight Of Detroit Water System

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A judge has ended 35 years of federal court oversight of the historically distressed Detroit Water and Sewerage Department following improvements in response to environmental regulations.

In a filing Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Wednesday terminated his oversight after a decades-long fight for control among city, regional and state leaders.

Cox said, while the DWSD’s compliance record is still not perfect, it is vastly improved in especially problematic areas.

View a copy of the order here. (.pdf format)

Cox said the state Department of Environmental Quality will be responsible for overseeing the department’s compliance with environmental regulations.

Another judge oversaw the Detroit water and sewer department for more than three decades. Cox later took over the case involving Detroit’s water system.

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, which serves more than 4 million southeast Michigan residents, has been steeped in controversy over the years.

Former water department director Victor Mercado, indicted along with now-incarcerated ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick in a federal corruption case, pleaded guilty in November to conspiracy to commit extortion.

Also last year, water department workers took to the picket line to protest Cox’s proposed cuts, which included an 81 percent reduction in the workforce and the right to outsource.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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