90-year-old shocked by huge four-figure water bill
Elaine Walkowiak is 90 years old and lives alone, but her water bill from last winter was enough to shock a large family. The bill totaled more than $3,300.
Essexville, MI (WJRT ) -- Elaine Walkowiak is 90 years old and lives alone, but her water bill from last winter was enough to shock a large family.
The bill totaled more than $3,300.
Even though Hampton Township eventually agreed to pick up more than half of it, she and her family are not happy.
"They should be ashamed of themselves because its not right," Walkowiak said.
A normal water bill for her is about $150 to $175 over three months. But in April, the bill was several times that much.
"I had to really look at the name to see if it was right," Walkowiak said.
The name was right. She was being charged more than $3,300.
"If it was summer, I could see where there was a problem," Walkowiak said. "But I got this bill for the first of April, so you tell me how you can use water in January, February and March that would amount to that money."
That's a good question and no one appears to have an answer.
Walkowiak lives alone, uses very little water and inspections of the home show no water leaks or damage. That huge bill equates to her using about 264,000 gallons of water, which means she used enough water to fill a typical inground pool like this about 10 times.
The water meter was tested and it appears it was working properly and then it was replaced. Her most recent water and sewer bill returned to normal.
"It just isn't right," said her son, Dennis Walkowiak. "There is just no way she could have used that much water."
He is visiting from Colorado and believes there was a problem with the meter.
"The way they read it, the electronic part of the reading is wrong," Dennis said.
Hampton Township Supervisor Terri Close said she understands why the family is upset and cut the bill down to $1,500. She said the township still has to pay the Bay Area Water Treatment Plant and the Waste Water Treatment Plant for the cost of the water and sewer based on the recorded usage.
Walkowiak believes she should have just been charged what she normally pays in the house she has lived in since the 1950s.
"I don't think I am wrong, but I think they are not being fair," she said.
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