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Couple: JEA water bill went up to 49K gallons

6:41 PM, Apr 11, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Imagine going about your daily life using water, you believe, like you normally do, Then you're hit with a huge water bill.

An Arlington couple says it happened to them inexplicably. They called the On Your Side team for help.

During the past 27 years, David and Olivia Carter know what flows when it comes to home ownership.

"We noticed we had a little water leak, so David took care of that," Olivia said of her husband.

That was at one of their commodes in December. She said there was also a leak in a kitchen leak, which her husband fixed.

But then, Olivia said, something about the water bill came up.

"Instead of going down, it went up to 49,000 gallons," she explained.

She says the bill also rose by hundreds of bucks. The Carters are on a fixed income.

"So, there's no more money coming in to pay the bills," she explained.

The search began.

"We went looking for 49,000 gallons of water expecting to find a swimming pool somewhere," Olivia said as she described what the family did. "No pool."

Her husband, David said he even crawled under the house. The Carters checked their underground meter.

"I thought sinkhole," Olivia said, describing what she thought could be the source of the high water usage and bill.

JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce said they did a water smart check on April 4th. The meter specialist showed the Carters that the meter wasn't showing a leak. JEA said David told them he repaired a toilet.

Boyce also told FCN they took a reading Wednesday night by meter services, which was 848, which means the Carters only used about 1,000 gallons in the last 8 days. Boyce said it appears the work done on the toilets fixed the problem.

"This sudden change we can not account for on our end," David Carter added.

What accounts for that? Boyce says it was a toilet leak and the Carter's water use is now normal.

"Many of our customers do not realize how much water a leaking toilet can use," Boyce explained.

Boyce said JEA is rolling out a new tracker that will alert you when you're using more than a set amount of water you choose.

It will be available to all customers for free by next week. JEA's website has more information on how you can tailor this free service to meet your needs.

First For You:

-Go around the house and fix any toilet or sink leaks you may have.

-If you want to check if you have one in the toilet, put some food coloring or coffee or tea in the toilet's tank. Wait about 15 minutes. If it's in the bowl, that means you have a leak.

-Find out more about how to detect a water leak by going to the JEA website.

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