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8:42 AM Wed, Nov. 21st

$109,500 water bill shocks Diamond Valley customer

Bad valve on the meter led to a mistake in billing

Phoenix resident Jeff Jordan owns a second home in Diamond Valley, which he uses during the summer and closes up for the winter, shutting off the water in October.

So he was surprised to see his January bill charging him $109,500 for the month.

“I literally thought I had undergone another cardiac stress test,” Jordan said. He drove to Prescott to see if there was a massive leak of some kind, and envisioned what that might look like.

“What if there is a leak? It couldn’t be a million gallons. Plus, if it leaked, everybody on the street would be washed downhill, the whole neighborhood,” he said.

Diamond Valley Water District’s owner, Don Bohlier, said the company is replacing old meters and apparently, due to a bad check valve in the meter center, the meter turned backward.

Not by much. But zero gallons minus two gallons will read 999,998 gallons of water used on a 1-million-gallon meter.

“It was a shock to us, too, when we saw it. It was a fluke accident that happened. We got on it promptly,” Bohlier said, adding that he has not charged the customer for water use. “They are happy campers.”

Jordan said when the company looked at his bill history and saw he never used water in the winter, someone came out to check the meter, and it was replaced the following day.

According to the DVWD website, the company was established in 2006, has about 740 customers, and an average bill is about $70. In December, the company reported it had installed 404 drive-by meters. It has three storage tanks, four booster stations, seven booster pumps, and 72,000 feet of mainlines in its distribution system. DVWD gets its water from Prescott Valley.

Editor's Note - this article has been updated to reflect the correct number of the meter turning backward.