City: leaky toilet to blame for high water bill

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The city of Wichita says a leaky toilet is to blame for a $650 water bill.

Ruby Tate says the last two months have been a whirlwind. She says the first sign something was wrong, was when her water bill jumped from an average of $70 to more than $100. Tate tried looking for leaks, even shutting off her toilet for a few weeks, but that next bill grew again to a whopping $650.

"You know, I said that's just crazy," Tate said.

Tate contacted KAKE News. She says after our story aired, she learned a dye test showed her toilet had a "slight, barely there leak".

"This is an 800 square foot home with three people," Tate said.

The city says the leaking toilet was responsible for her $650 water bill. It showed Tate went from using an average of 2,000 gallons of water each month to more than 35,000 gallons in just one month.

Tate believes the electric water meter is to blame.

We took her concerns back to the city. LaShonda Garnes says the city checked its water meter and it's working fine. We asked could a toilet leak cause 35,000 gallons of water to run through the meter?

"We've seen it higher than that. It really depends on the type of toilet. It depends on how long it's running," Garnes said.

But the four local plumbers we contacted say it doesn't add up. One of them says no way a toilet could be to blame for that much water being lost. It's the equivalent of about 48 gallons an hour going through the toilet. He says the toilet's valve wouldn't allow for that. 

But Garnes says it is possible, and she has this advice for homeowners. 

"That $15 replacement of the piece in the back of the toilet could save them a lot of frustration," Garnes.

The city lowered Tate's bill to $350.

Tate says she anxious to see what her next bill will be.

"I don't trust the water department. Not after this," Tate said.

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