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School system gets refund on huge water bill

An investigation earned the McDuffie County Board of Education a $14,000 refund. Receiving and paying an unusually large water bill for two months impelled Assistant Superintendent Jim Franklin into action.

"We check our bills every month, and if it's excessive, then we question what the problem might have been," Dr. Franklin said.

In this case, the excessive amount came from Thomson High School. Dr. Franklin said he first called Principal Rudy Falana to see if the school had any unusual usage "in terms of classroom use or athletic events."

"Then when he said 'no,' we checked the meters, and then consulted with the city," he said.

The guzzler turned out to be a faulty meter. Dr. Franklin said the meter measures two different systems at the school - one for wastewater, such as in the restrooms, and another for irrigation. The meter wasn't differentiating between the two systems.

The City of Thomson Utilities Department replaced the meter and issued a refund check for $14.390.10.

"The City took care of it right away," Dr. Franklin said.

Web posted on Thursday, October 19, 2006

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