Clive Homeowner Claims City Charged Her for Thousands of Gallons of Water She Never Used

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CLIVE, Iowa  --  A Clive woman says she's being forced to pay a hefty water bill for water she never used because she was out of the country.

Melissa Wise normally pays about $90 a month for her water bill. Last month, she says her bill quadrupled to nearly $325. The homeowner recently returned from nearly two weeks out of the country. However, her water bill shows she used more than 20,000 gallons for five out of the 11 days she was away. Wise says no one was else was home while she was gone.

"I got sick when I looked at the bill," Wise says. "I thought it was billed to the wrong address or there was a wrong reading."

She requested a water consumption data report from the city, which shows no water was used on the remaining days she was away.

"I don't know where the water is going or what's leaking."

Clive City Manager Matt McQuillen tells Channel 13 the city went to read the meter and everything looked fine. He blames the water usage on a leaky or running toilet.

Wise says all her bathrooms were working properly, and she even consulted with experts to make sure.

"So I asked a plumber about that, if a leaky toilet can fix itself, and the description was, can a flat tire fix itself?" Wise says.

The homeowner says her bill has never spiked like this before. The city says it's not up to them to determine how the water was used and is still making Wise pay the bill since the meter was working. Wise says she does not plan on paying the bill in full.

Clive city officials recommend residents check their faucets, toilets, and outdoor water spigot if they plan on being gone for several days. They also suggest homeowners sign up for the city's water consumption monitoring program, which notifies homeowners if they are using more water than usual.

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