09/10/2013 03:16 pm ET Updated Sep 10, 2013

Maria Lopez, Miami Resident, Slapped With $9,000 Water Bill And No Way To Pay

Officials say a Miami woman has to pay $9,000 in water bills even though she says there’s no way she could’ve used that much H2O.

Maria Lopez, who lives in a four-bedroom, three-bathroom house with no sprinklers or pool, was floored when suddenly she received two exorbitant bills, Local 10 reported.

Lopez typically forks over about $100 for using 15,000 gallons of water each pay period. But for the last two billing cycles, she was charged for using nearly 386,000 gallons -- which came out to $9,000.

"I'm going to die. I can't pay this. It's just ridiculous," Lopez told Local 10.

According to the EPA, an average family of four uses about 11,000 gallons of water per month.

The concerned resident was certain there had to be an obvious issue, but the plumber found no leaks.

The local water company says she’s responsible for the bill. Lopez has hired an attorney to help her with her case and is looking into removing and inspecting the meter.

But even with help from a lawyer, she may still run into trouble.

In 2011, Kirit Kothari, of Cedar Grove, N.J, was hit with $10,457.90 in water and sewer fees incurred through January, February, and March of that year, the Star Ledger reported.

That would mean he and his wife used about 100,000 gallons of water.

"When I opened the envelope I said, 'Wow!' and I laughed," he told the Ledger. "I told my wife to look at this and she laughed, too."

But this was no joke.

No issues were found with the meter and Kothari turned to a lawyer for additional help. The following May, the town finally responded to his lawyer’s consistent queries and insisted he pay the bill in full or else his water would be shut off.

The township said it would refund the New Jersey resident only if the investigation supported his claims.



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