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      Bankruptcy judge could weigh in on Detroit water

      A judge is considering a request to issue a restraining order to stop Detroit from shutting off water to customers for unpaid bills.

      U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes heard arguments Tuesday on the restraining order request made by critics of the city's water department.

      The hearing on the water issue came before the scheduled start of Detroit's historic bankruptcy trial.

      The city 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. The judge also has acknowledged he was unsure whether the issue was within his authority.