by: Brea Douglas, Ozarks First
This past summer, our Media Partners at Ozarks First did a feature about a Taney County woman who was dealing with a massive water bill.
The water company says Linda Petty used more than 50,000 gallons of water in one month.
Her son, Dave who pays her bills says that would amount to using two years worth of water in 30 days, which he says is impossible, so he’s filing a lawsuit against the water company in small claims court.
The day after the original story ran in August, the water company replaced Dave and his mother’s water meter while the old meter was tested.
According to the water company, the test results came back normal for the meter, but the following month, Dave says his water bill went from $432 in August to just under $11 in September.
He says with the drastic drop in his bill, it’s evident that the old meter was faulty; something he hopes a judge will agree with.
“I don’t know where else to go. It’s like I’m talking to a wall when I’m talking to these people,” says Dave Petty.
For the past two months, Petty says Taney County Water District Number Two has ignored him when he says his mother didn’t run up a more than $400 water bill while he was on the road driving trucks.
“He said a hose had been left on and I tried to talk rationally with him about that to say that the most water that can come through our line in a minute is 6 gallons and it comes out to 8,400 gallons in a 24 hour period, but their graph shows 13,000 something gallons in a 24 hour period,” says Petty.
The discrepancy left Petty with no choice, but to take the water company to court and sue for the amount of his bill back.
“Surely the judge will have something to say other than a water hose was left on,” says Petty.
The evidence will show that after the water company replaced Petty’s meter, his bill dropped by about $420 the next month.
“That’s how it should be. Obviously, there was a pump issue. They replaced the pump and the water usage is where it’s supposed to be at. For some reason, there was a surge in the water usage,” says Petty.
Records show that Petty has a good history of paying his water bills so he wishes he didn’t have to take the water company to court.
“They know what the bills are here and when something like that pops up, don’t think everything’s normal, let’s just send out the bill,” says Petty.
Petty says his lawsuit isn’t just about money, but making a difference for other customers as well.
“If it helps somebody else out in the future not have to go through this or multiple people then I suppose it’d be worth it,” says Petty.
Petty expects his case to go before a judge in the next month or two.
Depending on the results of the lawsuit, he might consider getting a water well so he doesn’t have to deal with the water company anymore.
KOLR10 tried reaching out to the water company for comment, but they were closed.