Water Worry

(WSVN) - Your water bill isn’t usually one of your most expensive, but that wasn’t the case for a South Florida family. They were shocked when they got a bill for $30,000. So who’s to blame for their water worry? 7’s Andrew Scheinthal has the story.

Benjamin Torres, homeowner: “The first thing, I saw $30,000. I thought it was a mistake.”

Benjamin and his wife Miriam were beyond shocked to get a water bill for $30,348.

The couple has lived in their Southwest Miami-Dade home for 18 years…

Even with a pool, they usually pay about $100 every three months.

So they called Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department to see if it was a mistake.

Benjamin Torres: “They told us no, everything is correct, that we have a leak somewhere.”

They hired a plumber who found the leak … right next to a new fiber line put in by AT&T.

Benjamin Torres: “AT&T did the job there and the box was there for AT&T.”

Benjamin and Miriam say they knew where to look because an AT&T contractor had been working in their yard about five months ago. At the time, the crew told them they had hit their water line.

Miriam Medina, homeowner: “They told me, ‘Oh, everything is OK, but there was a little damage in your pipe, but don’t worry, it’s fixed already.’ I said, ‘OK, perfect.’ But then I said, ‘No, wait a minute. What do you mean you fixed it?’ So I ran outside, but they already covered it.”

Since there was never a sign of a leak or a problem in their yard, they figured everything was OK … until the bill arrived.

The couple video taped as the plumber dug up the pipe.

Inches away from the AT&T plate and that cable … he found the leak.

But now the question is — who pays the bil?

Miriam Medina: “It’s a lot of money. It’s time consuming, it’s stressful.”

They immediately called AT&T, who referred them to their contractor. When that went nowhere, the couple says they were told to contact AT&T’s and its subcontractor’s insurance companies.

Despite filing the claims, they say no one has come out to inspect the leak.

Benjamin Torres: “I’m trying to see if you guys can help me.”

After 7News got involved, an AT&T spokesperson told us quote: “We are in touch with the contractor who was working in the area, and they are in contact with the homeowner to resolve this.”

That’s welcome news for Benjamin and Miriam.

Benjamin Torres: “Somebody can see this and they can realize it’s a lot of money and water, and I don’t think I can pay that.”

The family is hoping this will get them out of this water worry once and for all.

The couple just got their latest water bill. It’s now at $44,000.

The bill went up $14,000 from the time the meter was read with the busted pipe … until the leak was repaired.

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