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Men Won’t Take Bath on Big Water Bills

July 17, 1990

HOUSERVILLE, Pa. (AP) _ A pair of neighbors feared they would be taking a bath on bills for more than 140,000 gallons of water, but the local water company says it wasn’t trying to soak them.

The Lemont Water Co. billed Eugene Emerick for 79,000 gallons of water during the second quarter of 1989. For John Paul Devereaux, it was a 64,000- gallon question.

″I was wondering what I did with all that water,″ Emerick said. ″I think I’d have to bathe three times a day and drink water all day to use that much.″

When Devereaux got his bill, ″The first thing I did was go downstairs and look at the cellar to see if it was flooded.″

Devereaux said his normal water bill totaled $17 per quarter. The inaccurate bill he received this month was for $70.15.

Emerick said his bill was $80 before the mistake was caught. His real bill totaled $17.54.

Cindy Rose, a spokeswoman for the 2,000-customer water company, said computer errors were responsible.

″There were too many zeroes on there,″ Rose said.

What made the bills even harder to understand was that Centre County had 12.42 inches of rain during the April-June period covered by the bill - 9.8 percent above normal.

Devereaux did win three swimming events at the Centre County Senior Games this summer, but he said he didn’t have a pool to account for his big bill.

″With this rain, we haven’t even watered the garden,″ he said.

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