09/27/07 — Southeastern water customers told to call office

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Southeastern water customers told to call office

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on September 27, 2007 1:53 PM

Southeastern Wayne Sanitary District customers concerned about their water bills this summer -- particularly those from July -- are being told to just call the office for help after several complaints were made, and addressed, at last week's board meeting.

"If someone has questions about their bill, they can call here to the office and we'll take a look at it," said Joey Threewitts, operations manager for Wayne Water Districts.

He added, though, that bills would be examined on a case-by-case basis.

"We can't just sit down and look over every bill we send out," he said.

Of those residents concerned that they had been overcharged, several have received refunds, while several others have not.

Included among those who did, was Jim Barnwell, who had planned on attending the meeting.

In the end, though, he was able to get his bill adjusted without any problem.

"Believe it or not, I didn't have to go," he said. "We got everything settled (last Wednesday). They dropped me $5 or $6, doing exactly what I said they should do -- take the last six months, average them and give me a bill for that. They were very cooperative."

However, other residents weren't so fortunate -- despite their protests.

Shealvy Barwick, who saw her bill jump $70 from June to July, did not receive any refund or adjustment. Neither did her daughter Lori Quinn, whose bill increased $50 over the same month.

She explained that her mother was declined because she had soaker hoses running through her flower bed and her flowers were still alive -- despite her protestations that the hoses "haven't been used for years."

Mrs. Quinn also explained that her complaint was denied because her meter had been changed and no problems were found with the old one.

"I had it changed because when I got home from work one day, it showed that we'd used 30 gallons, but we weren't home all day," she said. "They said the water was going through the meter, but I think I should have been seeing that much water somewhere. I just don't understand it."

Threewitts, though, said that as best they could tell, the water had been used, so they couldn't adjust the bills.

Fortunately, Mrs. Quinn continued, both her and her mother's August bills were much closer to normal.

They are not, however, likely to let the matter drop.

Mrs. Quinn's brother, Dennis Barwick, said they are still planning to have a plumber do a more extensive examination of their mother's home to try and find the source of the usage spike.

He said his biggest problem was not the lack of action necessarily, but the attitude of the board.

"My concern is how lightly the board took the issue," he said.