Peden Water Mystery

PEDEN WATER MYSTERY What’s with the water flow on Peden St. just east of Montrose Blvd.? An “avid” Swamplot reader writes: “A cluster of my neighbors . . . have received CoH water bills for the past 4 months that are much higher than average. As you know, the City helpfully advises we ‘check for leaks.’ No leaks. Check. I’ve tested the water meter with controlled withdrawals. The meter itself seems fine. Check. As best as we know from our individual habits, none of us have significantly changed our water use patterns, even in this hot, hot summer. Much of my flora is dead or dying. Check again. Can you or any of your readers suggest any steps we might take to find out what’s going on here, fight the Water Dept and these absurd bills? I thought of hiring a civil engineer, but my Google search didn’t find anyone that seemed to fit the ‘water’ bill. Can you help?” [Swamplot inbox]

11 Comment

  • Check to see if the readings are being estimated. It may also be a problem with the electronic transmitter. If I recall correctly, the transmitters have had about a 47% failure rate since they were implemented. The best thing to do is manually read your meter and compare it to the reading on your bill.


    Scroll down to “I disagree with my bill” on the faqs and follow the instructions. The key is to be aware of the time limitations and act fast. Document all contacts with the City and do not be afraid to request a review and a hearing if the City does not resolve the issue. If you lose the hearing, you can go to court, but have a very short time frame to file.

  • If you haven’t been watering more through this drought, you wouldn’t have dying flora and fauna, not even dead flora and fauna, you’d have dust. My bill went from $20ish to $150 in the Heights.

  • Dido Jason’s suggestion. I had the same thing happen to me last year. My water usage and bill showed a consistently low amount month after month. Then one month the usage and cost spiked. I looked back at my prior bills and they all said estimated. The one that spiked was a true reading. I check my meter and it match the reading.

  • Jason and Old school have it right. Remember to keep daily tabs on the meter. Check it before and after a trip when you know the water won’t be coming on. Could it be something nefarious, like a dastardly water thief?

  • Many of us in East Montrose have commmented on low water pressure for weeks. I wonder if this could be the culprit.

  • Isn’t this the first month with the new drainage charge? My drainage charge increased my bill by a third.

  • There is a water line break somewhere underground. This is happening all over town due to the drought causing the clay soils to shrink and break underground pipes.

    Call 311 on get on their list for a repair. I am a civil engineer, if that helps.

  • This is why we have a new drainage tax…

  • I had a water line break due to road construction outside my house (Castle Court area) 1-2 years ago… I called to complain about the gushing water in the easement, got nothing for a day, finally (when I was at work, so don’t know who it was) it got fixed… got a several hundred dollar water bill the next month (normally I’m $15-20). Complained through all appropriate channels, even cited my 311 complaint number about the leak, the response was: “just showing you complained about a leak doesn’t prove there was one”; “we have no record of any water leaks, you should probably check your sprinkler system” (which I don’t have); and, best of all, “there has been no road work in the area.” So, good to know that Houston has volunteer road crews unconnected with the City of Houston… that block the road for months… (and tend to park their machinery in my corner-of-the-block driveway, then leave for their morning breaks, so I can’t get out of the garage)… and that go all along the block severing (real) sprinkler systems (their work extended past the sidewalk into the lawns, so not just the easement), likely giving many of my neighbors nice and high water bills…

    Did the official complaints as long as I could, until the City said they were going to shut off water to our house and take legal proceedings to get the outstanding bill. Consulted with a lawyer friend who said that the basic fees in small claims court would be higher than the water bill.

    I work for the City, so I know when to give up. They’re never going to give in; there’s a massive load of fools you have to work through before you’ll reach anyone helpful (and good luck with that); and they’re more powerful than you are. It’s difficult to argue with the government; they can claim you’re a liar, and will happily do it.

  • Typical government BS: stall,LIE, deceive,stonewall, etc. The COH KNOWS it is at FAULT , yet tries to blame the tax paying citizens. I’d notify the consumer reporters at the ALL of the local TV stations. Embarrass the City into correcting THEIR mistakes!!!