Woman Stuck With $700 Water Bill After Freeze

Woman Stuck With $700 Water Bill After Freeze

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Anita Woodard's water bill is normally under $40…But when she saw a meter reader from MAWSS come out to double check her pipes Wednesday, she jumped online and saw her bill skyrocket to over $700. All thanks to a pipe that burst after our ice storm that she didn't know about, but took every precaution to prevent.

"And I had this quilt on it and I had this wrapped around it, and I pulled it up to try to find the leak. When I walked out here, it was pouring," says Woodard.

Releasing several hundred thousand gallons of water. What's worse is, Woodard came close to turning that water line off since she didn't really use it.

"I hadn't called them because they wanted $40 to cut it off."

Woodard is retired on disability, being treated for Asthma, Diabetes, early onset of Alzheimer's, and several other things.

"Some of them are one time a day, but a lot of them are twice a day."

She had to cut costs in the beginning because her first Social Security check was the wrong amount, so excess water was just one more area she could save. Unfortunately, busted pipes has been a common sight to plumbers in these last couple weeks.

"PVC will split from joint to joint, it'll destroy the whole system. I hardly see freeze leaks unless it gets in the teens," says Jimmy Whitehead of Cottage Hill Plumbing.

But it leaves many in a difficult situation, with few options.

"I wonder how, I know I'm not the only one that had burst pipes during the storm. And all the rest of the elderly out there, they're probably like me, they didn't realize it was going until they got a bill," says Woodard.

Normally, MAWSS will give credits if the leak is in the sewer line, however, in this case it was in a personal irrigation system. Ms. Woodard has no other option than to pay the full amount. While MAWSS says they can work on a payment method with her, she says she will likely go to a local agency that assists low-income residents in paying their bills. Woodard's friends will also be setting up an account at a local bank in hopes of raising funds for her, once it's set up, we will add that information to this story.

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