Friday, June 11, 2010

The Spring Has Sprung

Remember this photo of the "spring" next to Moogie's Mansion? Well, guess what. It's apparently moved to one of the water meters leading to Moogie's Mansion. Not quite as fountainy, but steady.

I've called the Sewerage and Water Board about it several times, but didn't expect much action, nor gave it much more thought except in the mornings when Pepper has to straddle it to get into his big ol' truck.

Until this month's bill arrived. Then -- whoa!!

Ordinarily the bill for that meter runs about $18 for water/sewer and $12 for sanitation. The bill for this month ran a little higher. The total (including the sanitation fee) was $432.00!!! For 600,000+ gallons of water used!!!

So Pepper suggested that, to protect him from suffering a stroke, I should probably call the Sewerage and Water Board back. Which I did. And I talked to a remarkably pleasant woman named Gowandy. Yes, I asked her to spell it.
When she asked how she could help me, I replied that I was afraid the meter had been misread based on our usage history. She looked up our account and said, "Wow."

Then she asked whether we had suffered a broken pipe or leak in the yard.

A broken pipe or leak that wasted 600,000 gallons of water.

I replied that there is no leak in the yard, but that there is one at the meter. And, I added, I doubt whether that wussy little leak would generate 600,000 gallons of water.

So, she explained the procedure to me -- apparently this phenomenon isn't uncommon in the least. Go figure! And here is where the New Orleans flavor kicks in: they will send out someone to inspect the leak and check the meter, but we have to send in a payment. Not the whole $432 -- we're just supposed to send in what we would ordinarily pay, like $18.00, and there will be no late charge (which I will believe when I see it!). But, we also need to send in a separate check for $12, payable to the City of New Orleans, for the sanitation fee. We can even send the separate check in the same envelope, but there must be a separate check.

Knowing how accounting works in Orleans Parish, I didn't even ask why there was a need for a separate check. I really didn't want to know.

So, the wheels have been placed in motion -- we shall see when the Sewerage and Water Board inspectors show up.

Any bets?


  1. I hate to be a poopyhead, but I fear they will say something like "The city is only responsible for the public works up to and including the meter. Since the break is AFTER the meter, is is the property owner's responsibility. Please remit payment for $432 immediately. Please also submit, on a separate check, payment for $9200 for inspections and repairs. And no, we will not replace your landscaping that was demolished by our backhoe operator during the repairs."

  2. $432???

    Crud, Moogie! Double crud!!! Not having lived in New Orleans, I do not know how likely it is that an Inspector will show up. But, if it's on their side of the meter, I expect it'll all be cool.

    If it's on your side...which is unclear from your post...well...

    But 600,000 gallons has to be a mis-read. Maybe the dude didn't want to wade through the water, and just wrote something down.

    We had a significant leak underneath our house a few months back that I let go too long before seeing to it. I was quaking in my boots waiting for the water bill. Our normal bill of $80 was $110 that month.

    Something is wrong in the meter reading, methinks.

  3. ... 600,000 gallons of water.

    I'm thinkin' you're gonna have a hard time hiding your new pool and decorative rock waterfall. Nice try, Moogie. ;-)

  4. Aw -- you caught me, Buck! ;-)

    I'm afraid you might be on target, Inno. But, it's the actual meter that's leaking, so maybe the inspection fee and backhoe rental will only be a grand or so. Next year. When they finally get here.

    Andy -- we had expected a reduction in our bill because we got a running toilet repaired (on the day we were supposed to be hitting the road for Elder Daughter's wedding!) I'm thinking the meter reader wrote down a 7 instead of a 1 because he couldn't tell the difference when reading through the water .