WBTV investigates water woes

MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - "It just does not make sense, and I'm really tired of paying these high, astronomical bills, says Peninsula resident Christa Pruitt.

And Pruitt says her high water bills can't be explained away. Her household hasn't changed any habits…she hasn't used her sprinklers.

"I don't run them," she says.  "I just don't need to."

Pruitt's father, Bob Watson, think  her water meter is broken. "We have to put our own meters in to show that they are wrong," he says.

But that will cost hundreds of dollars. So we paid a visit to CMUD's meter test shop, and they showed us how their equipment works.

"Can people trust their meters?" WBTV's Melissa Hankins asked Erin Culbert, CMUD's Environmental Outreach Coordinator.

" Yes," Culbert answered.  At this point, we have no reason to believe they can't."

Culbert says she still thinks people could just be using more water than they realize.

"One of the confusions I think that folks have with their water bill is the time lapse between the time that we read the meter to the time that you open that envelope," she says.

It can stretch back several months. Still, last night over 70 people from the Peninsula met to talk about bills that seemed way too big.

And way too odd.

One person said that their water bill was $550 one month, and $5 the next month," Hankins told Culbert. "How can that be explained?"

" Well that's one of the things we're continuing to look into," she answered.

Culbert said CMUD will be looking at each complaint case by case until they can explain the bills to customers.

In the meantime, if you've got a bill that seems way too high, you don't have to pay it in full.

You can make arrangements to pay your normal price until your questions are answered, and you can set that arrangement up by calling 311.