Little water, big water bill for Cleveland homeowner

Little water, big water bill for Cleveland homeowner

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The copper pipes were stolen, the water shut off and eventually the place caught fire.

So a Cleveland homeowner is wondering why he's looking at a more than $700 water bill.

"Why am I paying for something I'm not using," asks Don Young.

He is frustrated by the Cleveland Water Department. The water's been off at the home he grew up in for nearly four years. In the basement you can see why.  The copper plumbing was taken by scavengers. From the water heater and nearly everywhere else. The meter isn't even hooked up.

Don says of the scrapping of the home, "I called the water department that evening, I said listen we had a break in, the plumbing has been stolen. I need the water shut off at the main because the valve in the basement isn't working properly."

That happened and Don figured that since he wasn't using any water, he wasn't being charged.

Until a couple of years later. Turns out he was being charged. Right now the bill is up to $728 and he hasn't used a drop of water.

By phone he got an explanation from a representative who said "These are flat fees that will not be adjusted, thank you."

Needless to say that didn't sit well with Don. "They're just saying it's something council voted on it's a law, you have to pay it no matter if you're using it or not. Made no sense to me," said Don.

We checked and the explanation he got on the phone is correct. He had the water shut off, but not capped so fixed charges continued to accrue. We're told had he had the line capped, the charges would have stopped. But that involves digging and would have cost $1800.

The answer didn't satisfy the frustrated Young, "It's like going into Best Buy and looking at a TV and being billed because you wanted to pick out a TV or something I don't know."

On New Years Eve the place caught fire. He's going to demolish it. That will end the billing but not erase the bill.

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