Family ‘flushed’ by shocking water bill

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PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich.-- A family of four slapped with a nearly $700 water bill, which is more than 4 times what they'd normally pay. The township says it has to be an internal leak, but neither the township or a local plumber can locate the leak.

“I was in tears. That's a really huge bill,” said Melissa Alley.

The Alleys have lived in the same Plainfield Township home for 8 years, and normally pay about $150 for water every billing cycle, which is a three month period. When more than $600 was inked on the last bill, Melissa and her husband Scott went into a bit of a panic.

Their basement toilet is apparently the culprit for the Alley’s nearly $700 water bill according to the township. The Alley’s  last bill was slightly higher than their normal $150, totaling $250. They asked the  township to come out to inspect just in case something was off in terms of water leakage. The township noticed that their basement toilet was occasionally running.

“I immediately shut off my water, and contacted a plumber who came out, and inspected everything,” said Alley.

The plumber fixed a loose seal, and said they were good to go, and nothing else looked like it was a problem. Then the next bill came.

“I didn’t even want to open it. I didn’t want to look at it,” said Alley.

The bill claimed the family had used more than 200,000 gallons of water.

“That’s huge. That’s a house payment not a water bill. I think that’s ridiculous,” said Alley.

To put it into perspective, an Olympic size swimming pool holds about 660,000 gallons of water, and an average household uses about 100,000 gallons of water a year, according to the EPA. It would take about 6 ½ years for a family to fill this pool. The Alley’s new bill says they got a third of the way there in one billing cycle.

“I don't know what it is, but I don't think it could be from a toilet that wasn't even constantly running water,” said Alley.

They Alleys say the township is convinced it's an internal leak, but the township told Fox 17 News  they're still investigating.

“When I asked them [the water department] if they know how much water could go through a toilet he said to me he works in the office and doesn't work out in the field so he didn't know.”

One average 1.6 gallons of water goes down the toilet every flush, so if the Alley family just flushed alone that would be 14,000 swirls a day, 58 times an hour for an entire billing cycle to match what the bill claims they have used in their household. They Alleys promise that is not the case, and they reserve their water fun for their own pool.

“It just seems like we are going in circles. I’m not really getting clear answers,” said Alley.

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