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11Alive photog gets $62,000 water bill

9:42 AM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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ATLANTA -- By the time you read this story, the tab on Kenny Price's water bill will have gone up another couple of dollars.

That's because the meter is literally running. The water meter, that is.

Kenny's a photojournalist at 11Alive, and he's seen all those big residential water bill stories we've done before. He just never knew that he might have the biggest one we ever saw.

RELATED | Audit reveals thousands of faulty water meters

Looking at the dial on the water meter outside his home in Southwest Atlanta, you might think it's a stop-watch. The hand cycles completely around every 45 seconds or so. But it's not supposed to be moving at all.

The water main to the house is shut off for the moment. The obvious answer, according to city of Atlanta is that there's a leak here.

The not-so-obvious answer is where. Where exactly would 1.2 million gallons of water go without a trace or even a puddle on the property?

"My water bill normally is like $60 to $80," said Price shaking his head. "This time it was $62,000 dollars or something like that."
$62,823.21 to be exact.

Price said the city didn't send him a bill for three months until this one came in the mail. It's enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. Twice.

In fact, if you filled his yard with water, it would be 40-feet deep. That's 10-feet deeper than the main tank at the Georgia Aquarium where the giant whale sharks swim.

Price immediately hired a plumber.

"We went all around the house, and he detected the line," said Price. "We found the line, but we couldn't find any water leak."

Price says after he complained, a Watershed worker came by to check the meter and found nothing wrong.

11Alive called Watershed again and a spokesperson said they will take a closer look.

After all, a million gallons of water doesn't just disappear down the drain. Especially when it doesn't even make it to the drain.

"I'll quote what the plumber said," Price laughed. "He said that would probably be a Georgia Dome water bill. That may be too much for the Georgia Dome. He had never seen anything like it; he couldn't figure it out."

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