Posted: Nov 21, 2011 10:40 PM by Shawn Kline
Updated: Nov 21, 2011 11:16 PM
No matter how many times you turn on the faucet, it doesn't cost a thing.
Lafayette Utilities System Director Terry Huval says that's what happened to one wholesale customer, the city of Broussard.
According to LUS, Broussard has been getting free water since 2006 but that's not what the contract called for.
The issue, Huval says, lies at a water meter off Albertson Pkwy. installed in 2005.
However, Huval says the meter works fine- a valve used to bypass that meter was left on, keeping water flowing, free of charge.
"This is the first time we've ever seen anything like this happen," Huval said. "We basically have over 5.5 years of water usage that has not been billed to the city of Broussard."
According to LUS, a bypass valve was opened and not a drop of that water was counted by the meter. Huval says the circumstances make it look suspicious.
"It was not open to allow the water to go through the meter." Huval says, "that's something our staff wouldn't do."
So how much would the city owe?
This month's bill will go from no charge at all to more than $800,000.
"The city of Broussard used that water." Huval says, "and has to pay us for it."
Broussard Mayor Charles Langlinais has been out of town and says he hasn't been able to fully research this claim but will have a comment when he gets back in town later this week.