High water bill leads Phoenix woman to inspect city pipes

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX - A Phoenix woman's water bill skyrocketed for no apparent reason and when she couldn't get any answers, she called 3 On Your Side for help.

She called us in a panic because her water bill was $400 and since Cynthia Denton cares for her elderly mother on a fixed income every dollar makes a huge difference.

Denton moved back to her childhood home on Missouri Road in Phoenix to take care of her parents.

“After my husband died, I came back to take care of my mother and father and then my father passed a couple of years ago and my mom is going on 92,” she said.

Denton and her mom, Ethel who has Alzheimers live on a fixed income.

So when she opened last month's water bill, the bill said in August they'd used more than 68,000 gallons of water and she owed $388.

“I am either living in the biggest sinkhole in Phoenix or Missouri is a big sink hole,” she said.

She couldn't understand how the bill could be so high, the house is only about 900 square feet and her dishwasher is broken.

And she says only once a year they drain and refill the pool. Cynthia tried calling the water department but says she got nowhere, so she called 3 On Your Side.

A lot of people don't realize the pipe running from your house to the meter is the homeowner's responsibility.

Denton had that pipe checked and a plumber found no leaks, so we asked the water department to check the meter. The test showed it was operating just fine.

However, the city pipe that feeds into the meter shattered when workers went to inspect it, leaving Denton to wonder if an old pipe is what was causing her bill to skyrocket in the first place?

“If this is happening to me all up and down this street its gonna be happening because these pipes have been in since the 50's,” she said.

The city fixed its part of the pipe and replaced the meter.

Hopefully solving these water woes that were costing Denton and her mom money they just don't have.

“It's very tough, but I'm a person with faith and I know there's always tomorrow,” she said.

We've been tracking usage on the new meter and so far it seems that whatever the problem was it is fixed. 

The water department has some good information for folks to test to see if you have a leak in your house or on your property; http://phoenix.gov/waterservices/index.html or http://www.wateruseitwisely.com/.