98-year-old man slapped with $7,000 water bill

By Jena Johnson - bio | email | Twitter

PALESTINE, TX (KLTV)- It's sticker shock that's not going away. An elderly East Texas couple is trying to figure out how their water bill climbed to more than $7,000.

The Norwood Water Company claims the Parrish family used nearly 700,000 gallons of water on their Palestine property in just one month.

Gilmer Parrish says there's no way he used that much water, and if he did, he wants to know where it all could have gone.

"You don't see no gully down through there do you?" said Parrish.

Out on Gilmer Parrish's 47 acres, the land is dry. His cows, two horses and one donkey stand where their water trough used to be. There is no water, at least not from the main line.

"The water's been turned off," said Parrish. It'll stay off until Parrish pays $7,000 to Norwood Water Supply. His normal water bill runs $30 a month.

"I thought damn it," said Parrish. "I thought somebody was crazy because there wasn't no way it would be that much."

Norwood Water Company claims Parrish used 665,000 gallons of water. Parish says that's not right, and if it is, where did the water go?

"There's no way. You'd have a ditch down there," said Parrish.

Norwood Water Supply says somewhere on Parrish's property, a line broke, and water ran for 30 straight days amounting in a $7,000 bill. 98-year-old Gilmer hasn't walked in seven years since his stroke. He says he can't handle this massive bill.

"I'm upset and it's just ruined my nerves and health and I imagine they're going to sue me and I'm going to turn around and sue them," said Parrish.

The Water Company says Parish's bill will stand and they're willing to set up a payment plan. Parrish says the water company shouldn't hold their breath.

"I think he's a horses' behind myself," said Parrish.

Parrish has paid $500 of that $7,000 bill. He says he does have another water meter set up so he can water his animals.

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