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21st Street Water Line Construction Worries Tulsa Resident

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A contractor started pouring concrete Thursday to rebuild part of 21st Street, two days after a major water line break buckled the pavement there.

1/17/2018 Related Story: Emergency Order Issued To Replace Waterline At 21st And Peoria

That project has one neighbor worried after she came away from the last construction job with some huge water bills.

There are now two big jobs; replacing the water line and rebuilding the road around it.

That's already happened further east on 21st street and it's bringing back bad memories for a lady stuck with paying for water she didn't use.

Bills show what Katy Fleming was charged back in 2016.

The totals kept rising as the City kept billing her for water she wasn't using.

The question she had then was where was it all going and she thinks she has an answer.

“Thousands of gallons of water, for nearly a year, flowing under 21st Street. That ain't good,” Fleming said. 

She lives across 21st Street from Woodward Park, where her water meter, new sidewalk, and street were all part of a $9.3 million reconstruction job between Peoria and Lewis.

That's when her water bills started spiking. She said it was a result of the work.

“They broke my water connection to the city water utility line and I began to get bills for like $80,” Fleming said. 

But the bills grew larger every month.

“I began getting water bills for 200, 300, 400, 800 dollars,” she said. 

Fleming believes the city cared less about what is obviously a major leak than they did about collecting the payment for the water.

The same month, the city inspected the meter and said it worked fine. They billed her for 83,000 gallons, which is 23 times what her normal bill would be and issued her a cutoff notice if she didn't pay.

She said it took constant calls to the city to get a city crew out to find a broken connection that wasn't her fault.

“They fixed my problem, but they didn't fix the problem,” she said. 

The city confirmed the spike in water usage at the property that matched the timeline for construction.

The city determined the leak was beyond the meter, normally the responsibility of the homeowner, but also fixed the problem and issued a partial refund.

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