Close-up on a plumber's hand as he installs a water meter on a residential pipe. | Oleksandr Rado |

When Atlanta developer Jeff Raw had a water meter installed on a vacant lot he owned, he wasn’t expecting to get a bill until he put a house on the property. But one month after the water meter was installed, before site prep had even started, he got an $8,899 bill for 305,184 gallons of water. Bills like that kept coming in for five months, totaling almost $30,000, and only fell to a reasonable amount after the house was finished. In the meantime, Raw kept complaining. An inspector sent by the city even verified there were no water lines and no leaks on the site, but officials insisted that Raw pay those bills. At one point the utility sent Raw an email admitting there was a leak in its part of the system. But he soon got a call saying that its legal department had gotten involved and he still had to pay. He then appealed to the Sewer and Water Appeals Board but was denied; FOX5 Atlanta reports that the board denies 80 percent of appeals. Raw must now decide whether to take the city to court.

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