by: Eric Philips Updated:DEKALB COUNTY, Ga.,None —
A DeKalb County woman is frustrated after receiving a water bill she said is a 1,900 percent increase from what she normally pays.
Lynn Barksdale said a water bill she got in August is 20 times higher than usual and there’s no logical explanation as to why.
“It's so frustrating, because I know it's wrong,” Barksdale said. “There's no way. There's no way. Pay $1,000 when I'm normally paying $50?”
Barksdale said she got a sinking feeling when she got the Dekalb Watershed Management bill saying she owed more than $1,000 for using more than 80,000 gallons of water during one billing period. She normally uses 5,000 gallons or less per billing period.
“I live alone,” Barksdale said.
She called a plumber, who checked her line and determined there wasn't a leak. She called Watershed Management out to verify that the meter was reading properly, and according to water officials, it was.
Barksdale seems to be stuck. DeKalb Watershed Management said it doesn’t have to explain the high bill.
"It is not the role of billing to know or advise a customer about how water on their property might have been used. Our role is to accurately bill the customer based upon meter readings provided to us. And in the absence of any known leaks or faulty meter equipment, we are required to bill that consumption," DeKalb Watershed Management said in an email.
Since getting the high bill, Barksdale has continued paying what she would for an average bill while trying to work with county officials. She received a cut-off notice, meaning her water could be off by the end of the month if she does not pay the bill.
“I'm at the end of my rope. I don't know what to do,” Barksdale said.
She said she was hoping to at least negotiate a reduction in her bill, but so far that has not happened.