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Water leak brings high repair bill

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Photo by Hank Lohmeyer The water line to Charlie and Sue Bolinger's home in Tongue Creek Valley recently required an expensive repair they were surprised to find they had to pay for.

Charlie and Sue Bolinger were surprised to find that what they had believed was an Orchard City water line supplying their home in Tongue Creek Valley is actually a customer service line they are responsible for the cost of maintaining.

When the line began leaking earlier this month, the couple thought the town would fix it, they said. But the town's policy states that water customers are responsible for leaks that occur on the customer's side of the water meter.

They told the DCI they do not know when their water stopped being metered at a location next to their home. Their water comes to them instead through a meter located three-tenths of a mile away and up a steep incline next to Highway 65. The hundreds of feet of water line are theirs to maintain, according to town policy. Charlie says that the line's exact location is not known.

The Bolingers said they called a lawyer who told them it would be less expensive to just repair the line themselves. Charlie said he paid $250 for a professional detection service to find the seven-gallon-per-minute leak, and $650 for a backhoe rental. There will be an additional expense for damage to a phone line that was hooked by the backhoe bucket, and another bill is coming for the total amount of water that was lost through the leak.

Sue points to a water billing mix-up a year ago that threatened them with a shut off while on vacation. She said she questions the town's way of doing business and wants others to know about their experience.

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