My $9,224.40 water bill.
Forget being funny, this is serious now. Remember my post a few months ago about my $758.93 water bill? Child’s Play. Last night I got a bill for $9,224.40!
Here is a copy of the letter I wrote to my lawyer on April 23rd.
I started getting high water bills last July when my water bill was $497. I assumed I had a leak, so I got a handyman to come out and check everything. The handle of my downstairs toilet was not as tight as it should be. To be cautious, we replaced every part of both toilets except the toilets themselves. We did all the handles and all the valve things inside that keep the water from leaking. I also appealed that water bill. I paid them $100 a month during the process of having this appealed the first time. They turned down my appeal. Basically they sent someone out to check my meter and said there was nothing wrong with the meter. On October 13th I got a notice in the mail saying that my entire balance ($384.26) was due that day or they would turn off my water. I paid the bill. By December 16th I had a $758.93 water bill. We called the water department and worked out an agreement where I would pay them $120 a month until I could get a court date. We decided that would be a slightly high but fair amount for me to pay. That number was based on my neighbor down the street’s average monthly water bill (she has a family of 4). A few days later the water department came out and checked my meter again. They said nothing was wrong with it.
I had the same handyman come out again and check the meter and both toilets and the sink and the dishwasher and the washing machine. All the connections were secure and the toilets were running the way the should. Since December 16th I have given the water company $600. Last Friday I got a bill in the mail for 1,430.00 worth of past charges plus my bill for April, which was 1,155.82. That brings the current amount I owe to 2,586.11. After I got the bill last Friday I got an actual certified plumber to go by my house and confirm that there are no leaks.
I live alone, work all day. I probably spend, on average, 20-25 nights per month in my house… for these purposes we will say I spend 25 nights a month there. I have been keeping track of the average of how much water I use during a month. See below.
Toilet Flushes: 4 per day, 100 per month
Showers. I take one every day, and sometimes two a day if I work out. Lets say I take 30-35 showers a month.
Baths. I take around 5 a month.
Loads of laundry. 5 every two weeks, so 10 a month
Dishwasher runs. I run the dishwasher about twice a week, so 10 times a month.
The only other water I use is to cook and drink, which should be fairly minimal.
I do not do any outdoor watering at all.
—END OF LETTER TO LAWYER.—
Before my hearing I spoke to the Public Relations Manager at the water department. She said she agreed there was no leak at my house and said they would put a device on my meter to monitor the water usage hour by hour.
The hour by hour monitor was not put on before my hearing.
My lawyer and I went to to The Department of Watershed Management on April 30th. We Sat in a room for three hours and got called into the meeting room. We sat before a panel of five people. One person form the Water Department and four citizens. My lawyer and I explained my situation. After we were finished the board decided to put the aforementioned monitor on my meter. They also told me that I needed to get an additional “leak detection specialist” to come to my house and make sure there was no leak (even though I had bills from three plumbers saying there was no leak.)
After the hearing I researched leak detection specialists, and they cost @$500. Since I had already spent so much on a lawyer and plumbers, I decided to wait and see what the monitor said.
My May bill came. It was $175, which is still fairly high. I called back the public relations manager to see what I should do moving forward. The monitor was still not on my meter. This time she told me that after looking at my consumption history, they decided THAT I HAD A LEAK IN THE PAST AND GOT IT FIXED!! This is absolutely absurd. I have no way of proving I did not get a leak fixed, BECAUSE I DID NOT HAVE A LEAK. I expressed my frustration and asked if I could please just get a new meter. She said no, but said that they would put on the monitor.
Last night I opened my mailbox and got a bill for $9,224.40. $2,638.68 worth of past charges, and $6,705.72 worth of new charges. The thing that is so frustrating is that IF I HAD A LEAK, and IF I had gotten it fixed, HOW WOULD MY BILL BE THIS HIGH? Good news! I looked at my meter AND THEY HAD ATTACHED THE MONITOR. I am at the end of my rope and need help.