GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — Some Greeley residents say they have recently received enormous water bills.
Cheryl Shulte has lived in her Greeley neighborhood for the past 26 years and hasn’t really given her water bill much thought, until this month, when she received a bill for $957. That’s up from just $57 in July.
“I cried. I said, ‘It can’t be that.’ I can’t even remember a bill that was $200,” she said.
Across town, Jane Ramseier is also in disbelief. Her bill almost doubled from $350 to nearly $700 in one month.
“I thought, ‘There is no way it can possibly be that much money.’ That’s a third of my retirement check. I’m a retired teacher. I was upset. I immediately posted it on Facebook and I must have had 25 people respond they had the same problem,” said Ramseier.
Ramseier and Shulte reached out to the Problem Solvers and we paid a visit to City Hall in search of answers.
Sean Chambers is Greeley’s Water and Sewer director. He says he has suspicions about what may be happening.
“With any significant increase in a bill, we’re thinking a leak,” Chambers said.
Chambers says in the month of August, 13% of Greeley residents exceeded their normal water budgets.
“That’s a little greater than usual,” he said.
However, he acknowledges Shult’s and Ramseier’s rate hikes are big exceptions.
“To consume enough water in a month to get a $900 bill, there’s a significant waste or loss of water,” he said.
Someone from the City is coming to Shulte’s home to conduct and audit and try to identify the problem.
Chambers also says in situations where a water leak is detected, the City will work with residents to ensure they aren’t charged a higher rate than normal for the water used. Like many cities, Greeley uses a water saving program which provides incentives to customers in the form of cheaper rates if they use less water.
Shulte just hopes someone can solve her water worries and let her get back to enjoying her green lawn and flowers without fearing she won’t be able to afford it.
“I hope so,” Shulte said. “I don’t know what I’ll do if this is going to be the norm. Maybe I’ll put in rocks or gravel.”