Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Underground leak causes enormous water bill

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PRAIRIEVILLE - A man says he was shocked when he opened his mail Monday. A bill that's normally just a few bucks grew by about 75 times what it normally is.

"I can't pay a bill like that," said James McCasland.

Being on a fixed income, McCasland has a pretty good idea what he'll be spending on bills for the month. But when he opened his Ascension Water Company bill, it was in the quadruple digits at $1,147.63. His water bill is normally around $15 a month.

"I said, Something's wrong,'" said McCasland.

After opening his bill Monday, McCasland went outside to find the meter. He saw pooling water and some bubbling. A neighbor helped him dig about 16 inches below ground to find the problem and fix a loose pipe. McCasland only wishes he knew about it sooner.

McCasland tells 2 On Your Side Ascension Water Company told him they put a blue note on his door notifying him of a leak. He says he goes in and out of his front door every day and has not seen one.

The water company says it first read the meter and noticed the leak December 22 and read it again December 28. McCasland says he didn't find out about an underground leak until after he opened his bill Monday.

"If they would have notified me I would have turned it off right then," he said.

Ascension Water Company tells 2 On Your Side it's going to work with McCasland to come up with a solution and help him with his bill. It first has to visit the property to confirm the leak has been stopped.


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