Monday, March 15, 2021

A $771 Water Bill

in late january and the beginning of february it rained heavily for quite a few days. a lot of water on the sidewalks and running down the gutters. in the afternoon feb 2, as the rain abated we noticed water pouring out of the concrete box holding the water meter and into the gutter. i looked in the little opening where the meter reader checks the monthly numbers. muddy water right up to the top of the box. i removed the larger cement cover. the box was overflowing with water. we called the city office and reported the leak. “is it running down the street?" i was asked. “oh yeah” i replied. in 15 minutes there came a city truck and two water guys. they removed the concrete cover and pumped out the water. the significant leak was from our side of the meter and to our house and therefore our responsibility. they turned off the water. we learned how precious water is. no washing anything. no water for cooking. no water for flushing! 

our nice neighbor across the street was outside so i asked if he knew a good plumber. he told us that there is one who is a bit pricey but will definitely get there today. i called. the plumber came in about an hour. it took him more than two hours to repair the leak. he turned the water back on.

the fix. that is not a lot of room to work in.

i noted the meter reading and compared it to our latest pre-leak bill. OMG as we say on the inter tubes. we would have a whopper of a bill. it came.

bad enough for water usage. the sewer charge is related to water usage
 

we called the city and asked if there was any way to get a bit of a break. the very nice person i talked to emailed me a form to fill out and return with a copy of the fixit bill to show that we had taken care of it immediately. we returned the form and the bill within the hour. she also said that pending a possible adjustment we should pay the usual amount of our bill. we rounded up to $100 and paid. a few days later a city tech came by to check the meter to see if there was any leak. alas, we were out walking and didn't get to see him, but he noted a hose connection leak. oh no! i had failed to turn off the hose after watering out front, completely unrelated to the leak, but bad timing. another call from the city to notify us and an appointment, to make sure would be home, to check the numbers again. the water tech came and saw no more leak. good.

on march 12 late in the afternoon we got call from the city. they had reset our bill to what we normally pay this time of the  year. and we now had a five dollar credit which would show up on our next bill! a credit!!! we love Arcata.









30 comments:

  1. Not the sort of story I'm used to reading from your fair country; more often it seems that people get hit by huge bills and no negotiation. I am constantly bombarded by letters (yes, in real envelopes!) suggesting I might like to insure the couple of feet of pipe that connect my house to the mains, for just such a leak as you experienced. I won't pay it because I noticed that it's already covered by my house insurance anyway, but I wonder how many are double-insured.

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    1. now i want to check our insurance. we get phone calls about our auto warranty

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  2. I can understand how the water usage was exorbitant but the sewer usage? it's not like all that water was going into the sewer. I guess if it weren't for the rain you'd have noticed the leak sooner. I'm amazed they reduced your bill down to your regular payment.

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    1. relating sewer charge to water usage did seem odd to me. maybe most leaks are toilet related. we walk almost every day so yes, we would have noticed. maybe they reward quick fixes

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  3. What a great story...simply because there was a good ending.

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  4. they did adjust our bill 2 1/2 years ago too. it wasn't nearly as much lost water. can't recall the cause. we do try to keep our usage down.

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  5. So glad they were so decent. I use to work for a power company and we did that for people who fixed whatever appliance was running up the bill right away.

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  6. I am glad this worked out ok.

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  7. Plumbing problems can get away from us. Your city was very reasonable in their settlement with you.

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  8. Glad that it all worked out OK because those leaks can get costly.

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    1. thanks.it did get costly quite quickly

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  9. Yikes!!! Close call. Arcata is lovable. That's for sure.

    There is an underground water line running under the parking lot for a great distance from the street to the 40-year-old condo complex where I live. The line was discovered to be leaking near the building last summer. A plumber was called in to find out where the leak was. We were without water for several days as he and a helper dug meticulously in search of the leak. Once the leak was found, there were many more days spent replacing a 20-foot section of the water line. The plumber's bill? $35,0000. Now I'm wondering what we paid the city for all the water that went into the ground before the leak was discovered! I vaguely remember a notice from the condo association, long before the leak was discovered, that our water use (paid for by condo association dues) was up and for us all to take care of leaky faucets. Hmmmm ....

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    1. now that is a water catastrophe! a condo building might deserve more than 2 plumbers digging.

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  10. Woo-hoo! A five dollar credit. Water problems are THE WORST so I'm glad this worked out in your favor. And you got a story to tell!

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  11. Oh, that's awful! It is like when someone leaves a light on and I think "wasted money"! Or I forgot to turn off the oven! Every penny counts with utilities! Glad you got it repaired!

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  12. Excellent! So glad you got resolution from the city. Right off the bat I figured they'd drop the sewer charge, but I love that they did the same for the water!

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    1. thanks. i think it helped that we had it repaired maybe 5 hours after we discovered it

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  13. What I wanna know is what are you going to spend that five bucks on? A pizza? Oh, no, that was the good old days. Maybe share a slice, eh?

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  14. You were lucky. Our Water suppler noticed a leak in the road outside our drive.. it was fixed but I was unsure if it was done properly and sure enough a week or so later the was a big wet patch and water flowing out of my stopcock. They fixed it properly this time after digging a lot away finally finishing very late at night. Just glad it was not on my side.

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  15. This makes me glad we have a well. No water bill, and no sewer charge. Of course, that doesn't help much when we lose power, because we lose water, too.

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    1. we did live with a well for 4 years. got a generator big enough to run it. used water sparingly. we did like no water or sewer charge.

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