Water bill nightmare in Apollo Beach - WFLA News Channel 8

Water bill nightmare in Apollo Beach

Posted: Updated:
HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Moving into a brand new home, with a new lawn, in Apollo Beach, Tom Nelson , expected his water bill to be about $75. Imagine his surprise when his first month's water bill was $1089.67. "I was in complete shock went into a panic thinking my water is going to be shut off," said Nelson.

He called the builder , who sent a plumber and the sprinkler installer to check for leaks but they didn't find any.  "I thought there could be a severe leak underground, but it said we used 144,000 gallons of water in one month that would have washed my whole house away," said Nelson.

To get an idea of how much water 144,000 gallons is, it's enough to fill 14 average sized swimming pools.  That's a lot of water for three adults and a 6 month old baby in a home with new energy efficient appliances and a sprinkler system set to water only twice a week.

The next bill came in at $530.67. Nelson put locks on his outside water spigots and called 8 On Your Side for help.  Then Nelson learned he's not the only one on the block with a high water bill. Next door neighbor Marla Murphy just moved in January 4th. Her first bill was $741.39. "I about fell out of my chair. I didn't know what to think," said Murphy.  She had some small sprinkler leaks repaired, but her meter shows she's still on track to use the same amount.

I took their questions Hillsborough County Water Dept. director, John Lyons. He admits they inadvertently charged the Nelson's for a month's worth of the builder's water bill. "We made an error...quite honest with you..on the billing. When the meter and the account was switched over from the builder to the homeowner,we go out and do a meter read on that and on the Nelson's, we made a mistake," said Lyons.  He agreed to give the Nelson's a $620 credit. But he found no error in the Murphy's meter reading.

That left both homeowners with high monthly water bills of more than $500. Lyons said those high bills can be attributed to watering their new lawns. Irrigation systems can use up to 20 gallons of water per minute, and it adds up quickly on Hillsborough county's tiered water billing system.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Shooting reported in Manatee

    Shooting reported in Manatee

    Monday, July 28 2014 4:11 AM EDT2014-07-28 08:11:00 GMT
    A shooting was reported at the intersection of the US Highway 301 and University Parkway early Monday morning.
    A shooting was reported at the intersection of the US Highway 301 and University Parkway early Monday morning.
  • Free hepatitis testing in Pinellas this week

    Free hepatitis testing in Pinellas this week

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:57 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:57:16 GMT
    Department of Health Pinellas and Pinellas Planning Partnership will offer free hepatitis test and other screenings Monday and Friday.
    Department of Health Pinellas and Pinellas Planning Partnership will offer free hepatitis test and other screenings Monday and Friday.
  • A hot day, even for July

    A hot day, even for July

    Monday, July 28 2014 3:49 AM EDT2014-07-28 07:49:04 GMT
    Below average rain chances today. Even hotter than normal with highs in the low to mid 90s.
    Below average rain chances today. Even hotter than normal with highs in the low to mid 90s.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 16 Old Wives' Tales We've All Heard

    16 Old Wives' Tales We've All Heard

    Wednesday, July 16 2014 2:11 PM EDT2014-07-16 18:11:56 GMT
    Here are some of the common old wives' tales that we still hear today.
    Here are some of the common old wives' tales that we still hear today.
  • PHOTOS: Savannah Woman Celebrates her 105th Birthday

    PHOTOS: Savannah Woman Celebrates her 105th Birthday

    Friday, July 25 2014 3:11 PM EDT2014-07-25 19:11:27 GMT
    On Friday, Mrs. Isabel Hansen Coons, celebrated her 105th birthday with a big bash at Summer Breeze Senior Living on Wilmington Island.Mrs. Coons was born in 1909 and has been a resident of Savannah since 1986. Staff at Summer Breeze Senior Living say she is spirited, competitive and full off insightful advice. They add that Mrs. Coons attributes her longevity to 'moderation.'Happy Birthday Mrs. Coons!
    On Friday, Mrs. Isabel Hansen Coons, celebrated her 105th birthday with a big bash at Summer Breeze Senior Living on Wilmington Island.Mrs. Coons was born in 1909 and has been a resident of Savannah since 1986. Staff at Summer Breeze Senior Living say she is spirited, competitive and full off insightful advice. They add that Mrs. Coons attributes her longevity to 'moderation.'Happy Birthday Mrs. Coons!
  • VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    VIDEO: Intense gator battle at Odessa golf course

    Friday, July 25 2014 10:56 AM EDT2014-07-25 14:56:27 GMT
    YouTube imageYouTube image
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
    An amazing video of two big gators locked in an intense fight might have you wondering how something so dangerous could happen at a golf course. A golfer shot the video using a cell phone
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.