A Georgia woman was shocked to find she was billed $9,000 for water usage. The Atlanta homeowner had been battling the city for over a year over high bills, so part of this is an accumulated bill, but new charges were listed as being about $6,000.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Blayne Beacham, who lives alone in a three bedroom cottage, has been receiving outrageously high water bills. This month she received one for a whopping $9,000.
Beacham notes the problem started last July when she received her water bill, and found the Department of Watershed charged her about $500. Prior to that her monthly water charges had been under $100.
"I assumed I had a leak, so I got a handyman to come out and check everything," Beacham told the AJC.
No leakage problems were found inside her home. The city came out and checked her meter, telling her all was in proper working condition. She appealed the water bill containing the high charges, had made arrangements for partial payments. Her appeal was denied.
In Dec. 2011 Beacham received a bill for $758. She again appealed. Again, the Watershed Dept. came out and inspected her meter, and the homeowner also got another inspection conducted on her house.
Nothing was found to be out of order. A third plumber came out and inspected her house in April after she'd received a bill for $1,155, plus $1,430 in late charges .
Once again Beacham was told there were no leaks in her home's plumbing. She's reportedly been asking for a new meter, but has been denied.
This week she told AJC, "Last night I opened my mailbox and got a bill for $9,224.40 -- $2,638.68 worth of past charges, and $6,705.72 worth of new charges."
WSB-TV reported Beacham said there is "no way" she managed to use that much water, noting she'd be living in a sinkhole if that were the case.
"I don't do any outside watering. You know, five showers a week, two loads of laundry, one dishwasher run -- it's not $9,000 worth of water," she said.
These exorbitant charges are far above what she had been paying two years ago, which was reported to be $28.
The Watershed Dept. noted, "Clearly not a leak, but her usage is very inconsistent." A data logger has been attached to Beacham's water meter, so it'll be another month until results are accumulated.
A March 2011 CNN report noted several Atlanta residents were "outraged" by their excessively high water bills. In that report, several ideas were theorized, such as a meter base not properly being fit ─ as it was found in some cases ─ or human and computer errors. Any of these problems could throw off the accuracy of billing.
Residents have previously complained, wondering why their rates were generally higher than other local areas, and these extremely high bills, which have been reported since 2010, are puzzling to many.
At this time, it is still uncertain why Beacham, and possibly many others, are receiving such high charges in their water bills. In the meantime, she continues to battle the thousands of dollars the city says she owes.
"The longer they put off finding a resolution, the more likely I'll be saddled with a $9,000 bill," Beacham said. "If they admit I don't have a leak, why won't they just replace the meter?"