Thursday, August 02, 2007

Yoo-hoo! Water! Where did you go?!

We received our first water bill from our utility company. We braced ourselves and then upon opening it.....there was not enough liquor in the house to prepare us for the sight we beheld.

$1098.41

For, get this, 12 days of service! That according to them was usage of 198,000 gallons of water.

So that works out to be:
16,500 gallons a day
688 gallons an hour
12 gallons a minute

We don't have a pool, pond, stream, swamp or any other water body on our property. No we didn't try to fill a tanker truck, I think we would have noticed it filling up from our water hose. There is no explanation behind these numbers. Because clearly if you come to my house and look outside you'll notice nothing to indicate we have an external leak above or underground because, uh, with 16,500 gallons a day our property would not have the means to absorb it all and would have affected our neighbors by now. Next our basement is dry and the sump pump has not been heard.

I called the utility company, and of course it's our fault. Come on, man, of course we're using 1000s of gallons of water a day. Dontcha know that's what all the locals do around here in the summer. Shoot. It is. For real.

Just for background an average household with 4-5 people will use between 21,000 and 35,000 gallons a month. Maybe more if you have a sprinkler system or wash your cars like every day.

As I provided the simple math of the numbers laid out on the bill she didn't remark or sound shocked. No impact on my service rep. She indicated that seemed high yet did not say anything like "Holy crap! What are you people doing over there filling a pool or something?" or "198,000 gallons of water! Do you live in a lake?" Nope.

Nothing.

Just a "that seems high". I wanted to hear that amount was clearly unusual for a residential property to have gone through in so few days. But then I remembered who I was talking to, the utility unhelpful service rep. I continued to inform this person that the house I live in, for just over 30 days, is new. As in built 2 months ago. With new efficient appliances that we selected specifically to reduce our water consumption. None of our appliances are wasting water through leaks, etc. Our toilets are not either. You know, this woman told me that a leaky toilet could cause such waste of water! Sure. Right lady. A leaky toilet can waste 12 gallons a minute. Effing A! It takes about a minute for the damn tank to fill up, so she's on something to believe that story. She asked if I had watered my lawn. I said yes, but indicated that the 2 times we have would not have grossed 100s of 1000s of gallons of water. We have been getting rain storms these past few weeks and further when we got this bill we stopped thinking of lawn watering all together. And bathing. Actually bottled Evian baths would have been more affordable than this water bill is sizing up to become.

I was told to have a plumber come by and do a whole house assessment to verify the non-leaky-ness and waste of our pipes, appliances, showers and toilets. Then once that passes as it would I can provide a copy to the utility company and apply for A ONE TIME type 1 ADJUSTMENT. This can only be done once every 5 years.

Hoo-wee. A type 1 adjustment. I am so relieved. Because I thought for a minute there that I'd be screwed or something.

There is no further information about what that adjustment would do for me. She would not disclose that to me, like it was some sort of spy information. I persisted with my interrogation. The week before my husband requested that the meter be checked for flukes. I remembered to get that reading from my rep. So glad I did. The result?

From 7/17/07-7/27/07 we used a total of 46,000 gallons. So I ask, where is this water going? She had no answer and I parted with no real explanation.

Baffled does not explain the state I am in. Rage does not explain my feelings for this utility.

Then today I contacted my builder, they are great, and the gentleman we did our pre-settlement with came to have a look see. He was concerned as much as I. Because based on my numbers given to me by the utility he was worried that the foundation would collapse with that much water possibly leaking under the house. And builders do not like when their homes collapse. It's bad for business. He checked everything. Nothing. Wrong. With. Anything. We opened the meter, he shut off the water valve to the house and we waited. We watched to see if the meter moved. If it did then we'd be dealing with a crack in the pipe taking water to our house. Which would be a big problem but at least it would be fixed by the builder.

The result was nothing. No change in the meter. There was no water being taken into the house. At least we know from this simple test that the pipe is not damaged. (Or at least not enough to provide support to the loss of 1000s of gallons of water an hour) Our internal plumbing is fine. I recorded the reading for my own notes and when I last called on the 27th I had a comparison to determine the usage.

So can anyone tell me where all this water is going? Because I am at a loss. And so will my bank account.

2 comments :

Marla said...

HOLY CRAP!!!! That is ridiculous! We had a similar problem, only much less water, but the $400 water bill tipped us off to a leak in the underground pipe leading to our house. And when we checked the meter, you could literally see it spinning away. There is just no way you can be using that much water!! You need to call back and demand to speak to a manager or figure out who you can complain to- there has to be some oversight for public utilities, right?!?

Librarian Girl said...

That story is HORRIFYING. Oh my god.

Keep us posted! Will you be calling in a plumber next?