91-year-old woman receives $27,000 water bill

91-year-old woman receives $27,000 water bill

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(Photo: WGCL/Meredith) (Photo: WGCL/Meredith)

FULTON COUNTY, GA (Meredith/CBS46) - A 91-year-old Georgia woman is in need of help after she received a $27,000 water bill.

Ruth Starks said she had a stroke five years ago and her family has been helping her pay her bills ever since. But when she heard she had incurred a water bill of $27,000, she was stunned.

"I thought they were paying everything," Starks said. "I don’t need any more pressure on me. I can’t take it."

There is a constant drip in her bathroom, but no other obvious signs of a major water leak. But she's afraid that her utility company will shut off her water. She also said she wasn't sure why the company hadn't sent her any kind of notice about her bill being paid or being that high.

"Why they didn’t they send me some kind of notice and let me know my water bill wasn’t being paid?" Starks said, claiming that she hasn’t received a water bill in years.

She said she reached out to the department for help recently but said she didn't get a response right away.

"I’m not trying to beat the government or anything like that. I just want my bills paid," she said. "I don’t have a bad record paying my bill. I did the best I could with what I could all my life."

After WGCL contacted the water department, the department said it is actively investigating the matter and issued a statement, saying:

The Department of Watershed Management is committed to ensuring safe and clean drinking water to all Atlanta ratepayers. We are aware of Ms. Ruth Stark's escalated consumption of water, which is due to a leak on the private property of her home. DWM is actively working with the Stark family to resolve the issue. 

Ms. Stark is a good candidate for our Care and Conserve Program and we encourage all customers who may be in need of plumbing repair assistance to contact their area Care and Conserve nonprofit administrator and complete the application process for assistance.

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