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Documents: Detroit residents bear brunt of water shutoffs

Documents show Detroit last year shut off water service to 23,300 homes while leaving the taps running at thousands of businesses that owe millions of dollars.

The Detroit News obtained records through the Freedom of Information Act and reports businesses and government-owned properties owe $41 million compared with $26 million for homes, but only 680 were shut off in 2015.

Neighborhood activists say residents have unfairly borne the brunt of a two-year shut-off campaign on delinquent accounts.

At its peak last fall, records say the city averaged 2,000 residential shut-offs per week.

Gary Brown, who in October became director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department, acknowledged the city has focused the shut-off campaign almost entirely on residents.

He says large unpaid commercial bills are his "first priority now."

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