PERRY COUNTY, Pa. (WHTM)– A couple in a mobile home in Perry County was charged for using enough water to fill a pool.
That’s no exaggeration, they live in a single-wide trailer, and the bill – 33,000 gallons this past month – two months ago it was 35,000. Home Depot’s website shows that’s enough to fill a 20-by-40-foot in-ground pool.
“This is the water meter, evidently, I’m having issues with,” George Russell said.
Russell got a bill for using 35,000 gallons of water, and he says the next bill – for a reasonable 1,000 gallons is what proves to him it’s not a leak.
“I went from a 35,000-gallon water usage to a thousand gallons the next following month to now the following month to a 33,000-gallon water,” Russell said. “If I had a leak, I would assume it would stay at 30-something-thousand gallons.”
His water bill is part of his rent at the Orchard Hills Mobile Home Park in Shermans Dale. He has paid the regular rent, not what he says is a very irregular water bill.
“I’m living paycheck to paycheck,” Russell said.
“Next week, I’m facing eviction for nonpayment of water that I’m not using,” Russell said.
Russel, his wife, and their dogs, including Patch the new puppy there. He says he’s tried pleading his case, that there must be something wrong with the meter, the person reading it, or the billing system.
“When I try to explain that to them I got hung up on because they didn’t want to hear it,” Russell said. “I went to the office, there’d be nobody there.”
So we went to the office. A man who identified himself as the property manager said he couldn’t go on camera – but told us George Russell must have been misreading the bill. There’s no way it was 35,000 gallons, he said. And no way a meter can be wrong meters, he said, either work or they don’t but never run too fast. I gave him my card. He promised to look into things and get back to Russell who says he’s already done everything he can.
“We’ve been conserving water so much,” Russell said. “I took the lid off just to make sure the toilet ain’t running! Not flushing the toilet because we’re worried about the water.”
Speaking of toilets if you ever get an unusually high water bill that’s the place to start. Experts say to put food coloring in the tank and see if the bowl water changes color without flushing, if it does, your toilet is running constantly.
Check for other leaks, especially around newly installed appliances, call your water company and if need be, go through their appeals process.
And if that doesn’t work complain to the Public Utilities Commission if they regulate your water utility – which is not the case for Russell.