Detroit couple baffled after getting $4,000 water bill

A Detroit couple is in shock after being told they owe a whopping bill for using nearly 122,000 gallons of water last month.

"We've never had a bill that anywhere nears that amount and I knew something had to be very wrong," said Barbara Barefield.

Barbara and Spencer Barefield have sticker shock after getting a nearly $4,000 water bill for Spencer's mother's home in Detroit last week.

 Some of that is from a previous balance in dispute, but according to the Detroit Water Department there was nearly 122,000 gallons of water used in October totaling $1,400. 

A neighbor did the math: it would've been two and half gallons per minute every minute of the entire month.

FOX 2: "How in the world does that happen?" 

"It's impossible. it's completely impossible," said Spencer Barefield.

The Barefields say they called the water department and waited hours to get an answer.

"And then they said would you like to set up a payment plan," Spencer said. "(They said) 'You're responsible for this bill.'"

 Barbara said the department added "And then it would take between to four to six weeks for us to investigate. So that wasn't acceptable."

FOX 2 called David Greylin a master plumber and owner of water works plumbing. he went through the house checking for leaks. The verdict?

"A couple of little toilets, that maybe had some very small leaks to them. Maybe," said Greylin. "But nothing like that. with that amount of water, you're talking about. I would expect something to be full bore going and that's hard to create that kind of water without someone noticing it."

"We're going to try to get to the bottom of it. that's what we try to do," said Palencia Mobley.

Mobley is the deputy director of Detroit's water department. she says water usage has spiked here before - the last time was 2012.

"What we already set up with them is a meter appointment on Monday for us to actually test the meter and make sure everything is working correctly," said Mobley.

"Our good friend and former neighbor Mike Duggan is going to fix this because when he sees us on the TV he's going to be like, 'Spencer and Barbara, what are you doing there?' So Mike, help us," Spencer said.

"Help everybody, not just us," Barbara said. "If this is what's happening to other people in the city," said Barbara Barefield. "That's a big problem the city needs to address. when there's something that’s so, we don't want people to have their water shutoff. that's inhumane. and we don't want people to lose their homes because they can't take care of their water bills."