- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 3, 2014

DETROIT (AP) - The judge handling Detroit’s bankruptcy case has ordered mediation in a lawsuit that seeks to block the city from shutting off water to customers for unpaid bills.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes heard arguments Tuesday on a request for a temporary restraining order from critics of the city’s water department.

Rhodes declined to issue an immediate order, instead sending the dispute to mediation and scheduling a hearing Sept. 17.

Detroit’s water department stepped up shutoffs in March of those 60 days behind or owing more than $150. About 15,000 customers had service shut off in April-June. The city has faced international criticism for the shutoffs.

Rhodes has said the shut-off program is bad for Detroit’s reputation.

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