OVERTON – A local woman is not going to have to pay the city for a nearly 200,000-gallon water snafu thanks to a quick investigation and a good plumber.
Chelsea Johnson found out in December that her water meter’s monthly reading was in excess of 100,000 gallons.
The average residential usage in Overton is about 2,000 gallons according to city officials.
City Controller, Wendy Bates, prepared a report for the city.
“During the December meter reads, I was called by Brandon, the UB Tech, who stated the residential meter he just read showed over 100,000 gallons of usage for a month,” the report said.
“The meter and reading were correct, so Sharon contacted the utility customer and informed her that she had a very large leak,” the report said.
Johnson immediately contacted a plumber to find the leak.
During the plumber’s work, he discovered that a sub-tap had been installed on her main line in the 14900 block of South State Hwy 135 that led to a part of the property where a trailer was placed and since removed.
Johnson bought the property in July 2019 and knew nothing about any additional dwellings.
By the time the sub-tap was discovered and a remedy in place, another 99,000 gallons of water had passed through the meter.
According to the city, under normal circumstances, the customer is responsible for additional water that passes through a meter, even if because of a leak.
Given the enormity of the situation, Johnson was looking at a $785.15 water bill for services that normally run a tad under $70 a month.
According to the city, the additional trailer home should have had it’s own meter for separate services.
At Thursday’s regular monthly city council meeting, Johnson’s unique issue was brought to light.
Johnson asked for a waiver of the charges.
Two scenarios were presented:
• pay a pro-rated adjustment, and set up a payment plan
• pay the customer’s normal averages charges and write-off the rest
After about 15 minutes of questions and answers, the city council decided to write off the charges in light of Johnson being a new owner and she had no prior knowledge of the situation.