Today, Michigan leaders encouraged those without residential water service due to nonpayment to reach out to local water departments for reconnection. All occupied homes without water are entitled to have service reconnected by local water departments based on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-28. Hand washing and proper hygiene can help slow the spread of the highly contagious COVID-19 virus.
On March 28, Whitmer ordered the restoration of water service to ensure at-risk households have access to clean water for hand washing and other critical sanitation needs. Since then more than 1,500 residences have had water service restored, however many residents may not be aware of their eligibility, have concerns about the process or have experienced barriers.
“Running water is essential to protecting families from COVID-19 transmission, and we want to make sure all Michigan residents have access during this health emergency,” said Governor Whitmer. “For those who’ve not yet been reconnected, there is help available both at the local and state levels to get the tap turned on.”
No upfront payment is required for reconnection. All occupied residences where nonpayment was the reason for disconnection are required to be reconnected under the governor’s order. It remains in effect for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency, unless connection of the home creates a public health risk for others.
Residents are not required to provide a copy of their deed or lease agreement to have water restored during the COVID-19 emergency. Although water bills will continue to accrue during the emergency, residents can work with local water departments to arrange for payment at the conclusion of the emergency.
If residents experience barriers to reconnection, they can contact the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) at 1-800-662-9278.
“Slowing the spread of COVID 19 requires handwashing and that is virtually impossible without water,” said EGLE Director Liesl Clark. “That’s why the executive order requiring local water departments to reconnect homes during this health crisis was issued. It is important that everyone understands the steps to take to make that happen.”
Michigan residents without running water should take the following steps:
For residents struggling with heat and electric bills during the COVID-19 pandemic, utilities across the state have suspended non-payment disconnections for low-income and senior customers for the duration of the emergency. Information and tips on managing utility bills are available here through the Michigan Public Service Commission.