U.S. Water News Online
EDWARDSVILLE, Ind. -- A local family is suing their water
company, claiming it violated a 1979 agreement by cutting off the
supply of water to their home.
The agreement between David W. Broadus and the Edwardsville Water
Co. gives Broadus' family free water in exchange for granting the
company an easement.
Last month, the water company shut the tap after the Broaduses
refused to pay for water. The Broaduses sued Aug. 3, claiming the
cutoff violated the agreement.
The dispute began after the company decided the Broaduses should
stop getting free water because they had allegedly used 1 million
gallons over the past seven years -- far above what the company
considers normal usage.
Broadus, whose family uses the water for a garden and at a picnic
shelter near his two-acre lake, said he doubts the accuracy of the
water company's figures for usage from his two taps, which don't
include the household supply since that comes from a cistern.
``There is no way we could have used that much water,'' he said.
Richard Rush, the water company's lawyer, said records detail the
Broaduses' consumption. Rush said that he's confident of their
accuracy and that no leak would account for the heavy consumption.
Over the years, Edwardsville Water has provided free tap-ins to
some users in return for easements that it needed to expand, Rush
said. That conserved capital and has worked well over the years.
But when the company noticed the heavy usage by the Broadus
family, Rush said, it asked the family to start paying -- a move
designed to be fair to the system's 3,000 other customers.
The water company also said its 1979 agreement indicates that two
taps would be installed for free at the Broadus home, not that water
would be provided for free.
Circuit Court Judge J. Terrence Cody has issued a temporary
restraining order requiring the company to supply water to the
Broaduses until he makes a decision in the case.
A hearing is set for Sept. 25, Rush said, but the case could be
The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission says a four-person
household uses about 5,000 gallons of water a month, on average. At
Edwardsville's current residential rates, 1 million gallons would
cost about $4,400, excluding taxes and a $3.33 monthly service fee,
according to utility commission records. At large-volume rates, the
cost would be about $2,530.
Edwardsville sold 466.7 million gallons of water last year, the
utility commission said.
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