News10NBC Investigates: Monroe County Water Authority says $6,055 bill for single-wide trailer is legit

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GENESEE COUNTY, N.Y. – News10NBC has investigated crazy bills from RG&E, but how about this one from the Monroe County Water Authority?

For a single-wide trailer with a 20×20 basement, the total is $6,055.05.

We questioned the authority about it and a spokesperson says the bill is legitmate.

The takeaway? Take water leaks seriously. If they start at the beginning of a billing cycle, it will be months before your meter is read and a problem detected.

“And this is the basement,” Debra Koch said, walking me to the entrance of the basement below the trailer she owns in Byron.

The basement flooded a year ago. The water was shut off at the valve in the basement and Koch’s family moved out.

Koch says the basement flooded again this March and April.

“It broke everything down here,” she said. “The hot water tank. My shelves were over there.”

In the floods, the water came up to near the top of the doorway.

In May, Koch got the $6,000 dollar bill from the water authority.

“I’m like, ‘No way,’ because my yard would have been full, and everything else,” she said.
Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “And they’re saying you’ve used how much?”
Debra Koch, property owner: “1.6 million gallons. It would have flooded the whole area.”

That amount – 1.6 million gallons – would fill three Olympic-size pools.

I asked the water authority to look into the bill. It says the bill is accurate and reflects charges for water usage over four months – between December and April.

“Bills are generated on a quarterly basis,” authority spokeswoman Kerry Sharp said in an emailed statement. “In some cases, leaks are caught quickly based on when the quarterly read is taken. In other cases, leaks occur early in the billing cycle and are not detected until the reads are uploaded.”

Berkeley Brean, News10NBC: “What would a $6,000 bill do to your budget?”
Debra Koch, property owner: “A lot because I’m on Social Security Disability.”

The water authority says it shut off water to the property after the flood in April. The authority says it can set up a payment plan and issue a one-time courtesy rate adjustment, in which the elevated bill is reduced to reflect the wholesale water rate.