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More Pasco residents question jumps in water bills

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Neighbors in the Wilderness Lakes Preserve Neighborhood have high water bills. Neighbors in the Wilderness Lakes Preserve Neighborhood have high water bills.
PASCO COUNTY, FL (WFLA) -

Amy Gazaway isn’t buying the explanation for why her water bills have been going up.

“I don’t know how to solve the problem,” said Gazaway, who has bills that have doubled in the past two months to $263. “I don’t know how to prove my innocence in all this.”

After 8 On Your Side inquired about her situation, Pasco County Utilities analyzed her home’s water usage and said irrigation was the culprit, with spikes in usage overnight when lawn watering could be taking place.

“It’s very, very rare that you would ever find a meter that over registered and provided usage that was not what actually flowed through the meter,” said Craig McCandless, customer service administrator for Pasco County Utilities.

McCandless said sometimes residents don’t realize their irrigation systems are set to come on at certain times, or sometimes a hose is left on.

Gazaway said she hasn’t watered much at all recently with more rainy weather.

Since Gazaway came forward about her bills, other residents of the Wilderness Lakes Preserve have chimed in with their own stories of water bills for which usage jumped by tens of thousands of gallons per month.

McCandless said the utility hasn’t seen evidence that there is anything wrong with the new meters installed last year, but is willing to do more tests if other complaints come in.

County officials suggest residents with concerns check their water meter before leaving the house, then again after returning. If the meter registers any change when no one is home and nothing is supposed to be on, that could be valuable information.

Copyright 2014 WFLA. All rights reserved.

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