Ruby Williams, 78, a homeowner in Bristol Township, Pennsylvania, received a water bill for the unbelievable amount of $41,530.49. It was not a mistake or a joke. Ms. Williams had a massive water leak in her portion of the water service line. In one month she used almost 750,000 gallons of water. Ms. Williams' water was eventually turned off, as she was not able to afford to hire a plumber to locate and repair or replace the water line to stop the leak, and all of the contractors she spoke to required payment in full up front.
In fact, Ms. Williams, like almost every homeowner in the U.S., is responsible for the portion of the water service line located in her home and on her property – any portion at all until the street, no matter how inconveniently located or difficult and expensive to repair.
Recognizing that Ms. Williams' situation was highly unusual, the water company significantly reduced her water bill, and, with donations from the local community, a private nonprofit social service agency raised funds to offset the cost of repairs. Inspired by the outpouring of support from the community, the social service agency and the water company, HomeServe decided to cover the entire balance of Ms. Williams' repair bill. However, Ms. Williams was still left with a sizeable overdue water bill, even though the water company plans to adjust the bill "far lower" than the original balance owed.