An Escondido, Calif. woman has been told she must pay more than $16,000 for her December 2012 to January 2013 bill.
According to KNSD-TV, Margaret Kreusser’s water usage for the month added up to the equivalent of nearly four swimming pools. The Escondido Utility Billing Department is claiming that a 87,000-gallon daily water leak on her property is the cause of the bill.
Just to put this into perspective, the EPA figures the average family of four uses 12,000 gallons a month.
Kreusser asserts that her normal water bill is based on 150 gallons of water per day and runs only $115 a month.
“It’s absolutely preposterous,” said local water expert George Newman. For the bill to be accurate, more than 3,000 gallons of water would have to be leaved per hour. This equates to 60 gallons a minute and one gallon per second.
Kreusser reported there were no obvious signs of leakage, but city workers suggested that the water either seeped into the ground or ran into a creek.
“That would blast out of the ground like you wouldn’t believe,” said Newman. “It might go 75, 80 feet high. There would be a sinkhole there you could put half a dozen buses in.”
After examining the meter, Newman discovered that it continually rolled over and counted water that it never saw. The city since replaced the meter, Kreusser invested in new water pipes, and her water usage is back to normal.
While the problem is presumably fixed, the city is still asserting Kreusser owes $16,000. In response to the bill, she is suing the city for more than $300,000. The director of the Escondido Utility Billing Department has confirmed the case is going to court, but wouldn’t elaborate further.
Kreusser said the city offered to cut her bill in half to $8,000 — but she declined.
Unfortunately, this scenario isn’t an isolated incident. A New Jersey man Kirit Kothari was slapped with a $10,457.90 bill for water and sewer usage for three months in 2011. This added up to nearly 1 million gallons of water. After having the water meter tested, Kothari was told it was working perfectly fine and he was forced to pay the bill — despite hiring a lawyer to fight his case.