Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Water Woes

On Monday, the water bill came.  I didn’t open it because I’d rather read the Christmas letters first.  Cal opened the bill.  He said “Hmmm” and handed it to me.  My eyes fell upon the billing amount that represented a use of just under 25,000 gallons of water. “What?!?” (The Christmas letters fell to the table.) “We have a massive water leak.” 

I ran out to the front yard.  Surely, there must be spongy ground somewhere from all the water.  The ground was bone dry.  Luke pulled the lid off the water meter and I watched the little red triangle of the water meter spin.  Lovely. 

I called the water department.  A woman service person wanted me to put dye tablets into the toilets to make sure they weren’t leaking.  Umm, we don’t have 200 leaky toilets.  I politely declined, pointing out the problems with her theory.  She agreed.  (I suspect she was following the Serviceperson Checklist that the water department made her use.)  She pondered the number of gallons and asked if we had property damage.  Ack!  Property damage?  Did she mean a crumbling foundation?  I answered that as of yet I hadn’t seen any property damage.  Oh, good.  She told me to call the repair people (we have external pipe insurance).

After a call to the pipe repair people, I discovered that the water service woman didn’t know what she was talking about.  The water department has to send over a service guy to actually verify that there’s a leak.  (Either that or the kids are all taking 24 hour showers.)  Of course, no one could come yesterday.

Today Mr. Water Department guy shows up and looks at the meter.  “Ooo.  Y’all have a mighty big leak somewheres.”  (I’m thinking: Uh, yeah...)  “Kinda strange that there’s no standing water in yer yard.”  (I thought so too.)  “Must be some kinda big crevasse thing under the ground that’s filling up with water.” (Must be. Or the house will soon be floating away.) “Well, I’ll put the call in ta the repair people and tell ‘em that you got a leak.”

I waited for the repair people to call and schedule the repair.  They didn’t.  Cal called.  Turns out it’s the repair peoples’ company wide Christmas party.  While I’m sure they are enjoying the holiday spirits, I’d really like to schedule a repair before we’ve “used” 50k gallons.  We left a message.

So Cal called the water company to discuss the rather large bill.  Oh, yes, they do make arrangements to deal with the bill issues.  Of course, you have to pay the whole bill first.  And then if you file the proper paperwork, you might get reimbursed $20.  Twenty measly bucks.  (I think I need some of that spiked eggnog from the repair Christmas party.)  But I’m not shocked.  When the water pipe ruptured two years ago, they only reimbursed us 20 dollars.

It seems to Cal and me that two massive leaks in two years means the pipe needs to be replaced.  Cal intends to be here whenever it is that they decide to repair the pipes and make sure it’s clear that we don’t want another ruptured line in two years.  They need to get their backhoe and lay a new line.

In the meantime, we’re still waiting to hear from party people.  I think it’s time for me to start spamming their message machine with messages—that might help the eggnog stupor wear off.


  1. Bah. I am sorry.
    Though, maybe....all those annoying neighborhood cats sneak into your house at night and take long showers. A bad hypothesis, I know. But its better than "Duh, you gotta leak someplace..."

  2. You might want to check to make sure none of your kids are recreationally flushing toilets.

  3. Agh.. Troubles with the pipes again. I hope your house doesn't flood and float away anywhere to dreadfully far.

  4. When did I ever pry the lid off the water meter?

  5. Luke-

    I thought it was you. Hmm, maybe it was Jacob.

  6. Plumbing has always been a pain no matter what the situation.

  7. Holy COW! Ummm, ya know, I didn't have 25,000 gallons on my bill, but I did get charged with a lot of $$$ on my water bill a few years ago. I had them come out and check my meter and voila! The meter was the problem. They fixed it. ;D If only it's so simple for you. Sounds like you think it's a pipe problem, though. :( Good luck and and tank up on the nog!