El Reno's Outdated Water System Could Lead To High Water Bills
OKLAHOMA CITY - An El Reno family wants to know how they've used 88,000 gallons of water in a month. They say their bill doubled and then tripled. City officials admit it's part of a bigger problem.
The El Reno city manager says they've been working to improve an old, outdated water system for years. The city also didn't hide the fact that it's dealing with some complicated issues when it comes to calculating water bills. Right now, there are only two meter readers for a town of 6500.
"The first thing I thought was that can't be right," said El Reno resident, Traci Tucker.
As far as Traci Tucker knows, the reason behind her high bill was because of a toilet that ran continuously for three months.
"We got our first really high bill which said we used 81,000 gallons of water, and our bill went from $80 to $298," said Tucker.
Then Tucker says a month later, the bill tripled.
"It went to $346.97," Tucker said.
According to that bill, she and her family used 88,240 gallons of water in a month. To put that into perspective, that's about how many gallons of water it takes to fill a backyard swimming pool.
"We turned the water off to the toilet. There's no way it's our fault," Tucker said.
But Traci says before any bill adjustments can be made, the city wants proof that the toilet is fixed.
"We've had some issues. We tried to do some estimating here a while back," said El Reno City Manager, Tony Rivera.
Rivera says it's difficult to keep well trained meter readers on staff. In some cases, Rivera says the city makes bill estimates.
"They will either select like the last three months used, or last year's same time used," said Rivera. "It's just very difficult to get accuracy on all levels."
"I don't know how anybody could use 88,000 gallons of water in a month," Tucker said.
Rivera says the city of El Reno has begun the process of replacing as many old meters as possible, but with budget limitation, the city has only replaced a small portion of them.