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Couple dispute $490.54 water bill

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By Jenny Hartley

INDIAN LAND – An Indian Land family is questioning a $490.54 bill from Lancaster County Water and Sewer District.

Joel and Victoria Council and their two children, Javana, 4, and Ariel, 2, live in Legacy Park. They say they can’t imagine how they used the 70,000 gallons LCWSD billed them for in July, which was for the month of June.

When they questioned the bill, the district changed the home’s water meter, so now any errors can’t be tracked, Victoria Council said.

LCWSD Manager Mark Knight told the family that it’s impossible to use 70,000 gallons, Victoria Council said. She said the family’s bill was $80 a month before, and the family doesn’t have sprinklers or a pool.

“My grass is not lush, it’s very crunchy,” Victoria Council said. “The bottom line is that we have to pay it. We can’t afford a lawyer. We’re stuck with this bill and we’re stuck paying it.”

Knight said Tuesday that when a LCWSD employee visited the home on Aug. 22, the grass was wet and that the Councils admitted that they had been watering their lawn.

The district has worked out a payment plan with the Councils, something the utility doesn’t usually do.

“We’ve tried to give them every benefit of the doubt,” Knight said. “We wanted to work with them in every way we could.”The district uses a radio-read system to read water meters in the county.

A radio signal is sent from a district employee’s truck to the meter, which “wakes up” and sends a reading back to the truck, Knight said.

The city of Lancaster uses the same system, and Duke Energy and Lancaster County Natural Gas use similar ones.

“We’ve had no incidents where the reading submitted was different than the reading on the actual dial on the water meter,” Knight said.

LCWSD office manager Donna West said the family’s next bill was for 22,000 gallons and they will be billed for 13,000 gallons this month.

Contact Jenny Hartleyat 283-1151 or jhartley@thelancasternews.com