12 On Your Side: Grovetown neighborhood swamped by high water bills


News 12 at 6 o'clock / July 26, 2013

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW)
We're talking about thousands and thousands of gallons of water. In fact one resident who we've been told has not been home for 5 months got a bill showing he used enough water to fill an in-ground swimming pool.

"I don't mind paying the bill if we did use that much water, but I just don't see how," says Lacey Ford.

Ford says she got the shock of her life after getting her June and July water bills. Her bills showed the number of gallons used had doubled. "last month it was 6,200 (gallons) this month it was 12,000 (gallons)," says Ford.

She says bringing her bill to over $100. After talking with neighbors, she found she was not alone.

"The guy who is our neighbor and he's overseas, his bill like overquadrupled," says Ford. "And no one even lives in his house."

Ford says she's not buying the reasoning from Grovetown utilities. "She said well, you all must have leaky sprinkler heads. I said oh really? The whole neighborhood has them."

Earlier this week, News 12 contacted the utility department. Today a utility worker was in the neighborhood checking meters. A spokesperson told us they are testing several water meters including Ford's by running pressure tests, and testing water leakage indicators inside those meters. And they say they will continue to do so for several more days.

"I just want someone to figure out the problem. I don't want a double bill again. I just feel that none of us on this street have used that much water," says Ford.

As for Ford's neighbor with the nearly $200 water bill, a person with the utility department confirmed there was no water being used at the property.

They did not have an immediate answer about why the meter reading was so high.

Meanwhile we asked if there could be a damaged pipe on the city side. We were told if that were the case, it would never register on a homeowners meter and there would be visual evidence like a crack in the street or a constant wet spot.

They hope to have a better idea of what is causing the spike within a week.

So, with a lot of sprinklers running this time of year, if you think your water use is wrong on your bill there are things you can do to find out what might be causing the problem.

It all starts with the homeowner first. There several things you can do:

1) Be sure that you do not have a toilet that runs or continuously cycles water because that will lead to a higher bill.

2) Be sure you don't have any wet spots in your front yard. That would indicate a possible damaged pipe and that would likely be the homeowner's responsibility.

3) If you do have a sprinkler system, be sure the valve is turned off from the yard and not from inside your homes garage, otherwise you are just turning off the power to the sprinkler and not the water source.


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