Water Issues

August 5, 2011

Peachtree Heights West has had about 10% of the neighborhood having serious disputes with the Watershed Department.  Some bills are in the $1,000ʼs and some just high for the number of residents in a dwelling.  Most of the problems arose after the installation of new meters.  The Watershed Department puts blind faith in them and in getting the most money they can even if it doesnʼt make any sense. When you receive a bill with a dramatic increase in charges, please check the following points.

  1. CCF is 100 cubic feet of water or about 749 gallons.  Check to see if your usage has jumped up in CCFʼs-preferably from your bill a year ago to the month if you have it.  This is where to start because the actual rates for water have increased four times each of the past four Julys.  It is a tiered increase, such that if you go over 3 CCFʼs it jumps the rate even more.  If you go over 7,  it jumps again.
  2. Check to see if the bill is estimated  an “e” should be by the meter reading.  If you feel that the bill is irrational, call the water department  at 404-658-6500 and ask how to file a dispute form and do it as they instruct. The water bill states that disputes need to be in writing. Begin a call log by entering the date, time, person contacted, and summary of the conversation.  You have to keep calling them. They will not let you know what they decide or if any resolution is reached.  Keep calling.  Be a nuisance.     On line form: http://www.atlantawatershed.org/custsrv/forms/water_and_sewer_bill_dispute_form.pdf
  3. Get them to tell you the amount to pay while the bill is being disputed.  This should be the average amount you have paid in the past.  Pay that promptly.  Do Not pay the full amount.  They are not supposed to stop service as long as this amount is paid.
  4. Ask for your meter to be checked.  That is a 7 gallon test (yes- just 1% of a CCF) to see if your meter correctly reads the flow of 7 gallons.  If your meter fails and they agree to put in a new one, have a new 7 gallon test while they are installing the new meter.
  5. You can request a written report of the method(s) used to read your meter.  This will show whether the electronic reader drove by or actually had contact with the meter. This can show inconsistencies that may coincide with your water spikes.
  6. Ther ehas been some success in contacting the following people, following when all else fails:
    Please note that the city is now requiring (but not actively enforcing) an above ground back flow valve at your expense.  It has to be close to the meter and is unattractive and has to be inspected annually- also at your own expense.  These add up to an additional $300-400 per year.  Meters are now running approximately $1850 to the City and your own cost to connect to irrigation system.
  8. If your dispute is not settled to your satisfaction, the next level is a hearing.

Keep us posted on your problems and progress, and we are available to help.