Royal Oak couple gets $3,600 water bill for last 3 months

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Patrick Powers and his wife opened up a $3,600 water bill sent to their Royal Oak home on Donald Street.    

"We just laughed, we're like no way," said homeowner Patrick Powers. "It says we used 258 units in 90 days. It all equates to; they say we used 190,000 gallons in 90 days."

The couple usually get a $150 bill immediately called the city to straighten it out.

I talked to about two people and they laughed with me, basically," Powers said. "They said this is some sort of error."

The bill says from the end of January to the end of April, the Powers and their 1-year-old son used 258 units. One unit is equal to 748 gallons. That's 192,984 gallons of water in three months.

"The whole street of Donald that we live on would be flooded," Powers said. "It's insanity."

The huge bill is not so funny when they're told they have to pay it.

"I worked my way up the (phone tree) ladder and finally got to the city treasurer," Powers said. "And she kind of belittled me. They basically said I have to pay this, I have no choice."

The Powers were told they must have had a leak and that their meter reading was “99.6 percent accurate.”

"If my toilet ran 24 hours a day for 90 days it only equates to 18,000 gallons of water used," Powers said. "That is a quick Google search, that's common sense."

The couple is hoping to sell their home soon and to expand their family.

"We can't move because the water bill is a lien on our house," he said.

The city, replaced the meter and offered the couple a payment plan of $150 a month. The Powers desperately called FOX 2 for help and FOX 2 on Friday went directly to the city manager. 

FOX 2: "It's not possible that it was the meter - or that the reading was wrong? Not really or no?" 

City manager Don Johnson is standing by the meter reading saying "there's no question the couple used that water."

"Everyone is lacking common sense in this situation and the city of Royal Oak is treating us like crap," Powers said.

Johnson says after speaking with the meter supervisor Friday, they no longer believe Powers had a leak. 

Johnson says it appears the actual water meter in the basement and the remote display outside of their home aren't matching up, adding that the external meter reading is "off and wrong..." 

Johnson says he plans to dig into this further and hopefully resolve the issue Monday.

"It's not even about the insane amount of water they said we used," Powers said. "It's about how every person in the city has mocked us and laughed at us."