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Atlanta Watershed sets timetable to fix faulty meters, bills | News

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Atlanta Watershed sets timetable to fix faulty meters, bills

ATLANTA -- After years of broken water meters, software glitches and skyrocketing water bills, there is now a definitive timetable from Atlanta Watershed to fix all of it.

The timetable follows a recent audit that showed big problems with 10,000 of the system's 158,000 meters.

It's a job that should have been done years ago, but now, replacing 500 broken water meters, and reconciling more than 9,500 billing errors has become a priority for Atlanta Watershed Management.

"These will all be fixed in a matter of two months and all the accounts will begin to be reconciled -- that means the billing accuracy issues will be corrected -- within a period of six months," said Atlanta Watershed Commissioner Jo Ann Macrina.

Macrina says she will stick to her timetable to get what she inherited behind her.

"We are not just compiling this information and waiting for months down the road," she said.

Macrina says her do-it-now policy means technicians going out to a customer who calls with a high bill. If they don't find a leak on the street, the homeowner has 30 days to get a plumber to check for leaks on their property.

She said that if there is a leak found, homeowners will have to have the repair made themselves and get reimbursed for the work.

"You get it fixed, you show us the repair bill, and we will credit your account back down to what your typical water usage is," Macrina said.

While the processing going on, she said the homeowner would not be stuck with the water bill.

"The bill gets suspended, that means it gets held where it is, and a person does not receive a bill until everything is resolved," Macrina said.

If no leaks are found on either end, Macrina says a settlement would be worked out. Atlanta homeowners say they've heard all this before, but the high bills just keep coming.

Macrina insists this is not just lip-service and that crews are actively replacing meters and computer gurus are analyzing all the out-of-sync bills.