Lamar County residents fighting $2,200 water bill

LAMAR COUNTY, TX -- Two Lamar County residents recently got a water bill in the thousands of dollars and are looking for answers.

In October, Grant and Kelli Mallicote received a water bill from the Lamar County Water Supply District for $2,282.48. The daily breakdown of water usage hit over 14,000 gallons of water per day.

"You would think they would have some type of checks and balances to alert the consumer that they may have a problem," said Grant Mallicote.

The Mallicote's reached out to other water districts and according to many of those districts, it is customary to contact consumers in the occurrence of excessive water consumption. But the Mallicote's weren't ever contacted and were told by Lamar County Water District management it is not their job to notify customers.

"I kind of feel like if you have to call that many people than obviously there is a problem," said Kelli Mallicote. "If there's not any problems in your system, than you really shouldn't have that many people to call to report that there is a problem."

The Mallicote's put a stop on their auto-draft billing and started investigating. After an extensive search, they did find a leak behind a shop on their property, but being billed for nearly 600,000 gallons of water, they say the leak should of been more prevalent.

"It just seems crazy to flow that much water through this 3/4 inch line and still have normal water pressure at our house," said Grant Mallicote. "So we never had any reason to check for a leak."

When they called the water district they were told they had to pay their bill.

"We were just basically told, there's no problem with our meter. Our meters are accurate, you just need to pay your water bill," said Kelli Mallicote.

But this isn't the first time this has happened to the Mallicote's. Four years ago they received an outstanding bill and received a one-time 20-percent discount due to a water leak. This being the second time that this has happened to them and the lack of help from the water district, Kelli posted a picture of their bills on social media. It turns out the Mallicote's aren't the only one this has happened to.

"We have been hearing from the public and this has happened to other people and other people are doing what we did, just paying it and moving on," said Kelli Mallicote. "I feel like somebody needs to put a voice to it and investigate."

Kelli mailed a certified letter to the water district telling them that their water usage increased over 1,200-percent and sent in $150 to keep the account in good standing. She also requested a meter check, usage history and meter calibration reports.

The water district responded with a letter, saying they'd put the matter on their next board meeting agenda.

News 12 spoke with the water district and they say their meters read 99.7-percent correct and the problem was the leak.

The district offers customers with high bills due to leaks a one time 20-percent discount and gives them up to three months to pay off their bill.

The water district's board meeting is scheduled at 12 p.m. on December 10.

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