Woman gets $74,000 water bill
MASCOUTAH, Illinois (AP) -- It has been a hot, dry summer in this St. Louis suburb, but Rose Mary Cook knew there was no way she could have used $74,000 worth of water.
The city's utility department claimed Cook used 10 million gallons of water last month, charging her $29,787 for water, $43,581 for sewer, plus $893 for municipal tax.
"Luckily, when I opened the bill, I was sitting down," Cook said. "I could have filled every pool in southern Illinois and still not used that much water."
Cook presented the bill to a public works employee at City Hall. Officials quickly determined the whopping fee was the result of a broken meter and issued a corrected bill for $32.66 -- waiving Cook's monthly water and sewer charges for her troubles.
"My daughter asked me if I was hoarding water during the drought," Cook said. "I told her I would, but I don't know where I would find 10 million gallon jugs."