Homeowners think they know what caused high water bills after Harvey

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Homeowners think they know what caused unusually high water bills after Harvey. (KTRK)

Thousands of homeowners in the Houston area have been receiving unusually high water bills since Hurricane Harvey.

The Public Works Department is not entirely sure why this is happening.

RELATED: What to do if you have a high water bill since Harvey


ABC13 found one homeowner who says a rescue boat could be to blame for her $2,500 bill.

Rachel Merkel says her family evacuated their Kingwood home in the nick of time during Harvey.

"In a matter of 3-4 hours it started coming up our deck, so we decided 'let's get out of here,'" said Merkel.

While the family was heading to Dallas, her neighborhood was taking on massive amounts of water and rescues were happening.

That's when a neighbor says a rescue boat on a trailer might have caused some damage.

Merkel says neighbors saw the drivers run over the water main and it began gushing water.

When the water receded, the main was turned off but it kept leaking so the family called the city.

"They sent people out and they said there is no leak," said Merkel.

Several more visits finally got them to replace the box but not until after they got a bill for close to $2,500.

"Every time we think it starts getting better, it's just one more thing. We are back at square one," said Merkel.

The city issued a response to the high water bills:

The City of Houston and Houston Public Works take seriously the fact that some properties affected by flooding have received unusually high water bills. There are approximately 5,000 customer accounts that have water bills that are twice as much (or more) than the previous billing cycle. The mayor is working with City Council and Houston Public Works to better understand how this happened and how to correct it. Public Works is also working on a dedicated phone number for people to call if they have questions about high bills.

In the meantime, customers with unusually high water bills should contact Customer Account Services at 713-371-1400. Eligible accounts will be placed on hold. Penalties will not accrue and accounts will not be disconnected.


Updated information and resources will also be posted to the Houston Recovers website.

RELATED: Water bill too high after Harvey? Report it
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Houston officials encourages anyone with unusally high water bill after Harvey to report it to city.

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Related Topics:
homebillsstretch your dollarhouston floodfloodinghurricane harveyHouston
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