FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — A Frederick woman got a water bill in the mail that was nearly 20 times higher than what she normally pays.
Denise Sansonese’s water bill usually comes out to about $250 per quarter. She opened her most recent bill to find a number she never expected.
“I was just shocked, when I saw the amount that it was, it blew my mind, it was almost $5,000,” she explained.
Denise has lived in her Frederick home for around four years and has never seen a bill that high. She is deaf and recently, her hearing son stopped by and told her he had heard a problem with a toilet in her house.
“He heard the toilet running and he let me know, so we were able to shut it off. Sure enough, the water pump had been running, behind the scenes, for a week, two months, I really don’t know.”
The two found a fix for the broken pump. She reached out to the city about the bill, but it didn’t offer her much help.
“Someone came to look at the meter and apologized and said, ‘Oh, we have to follow what the meter says.’ So, we kind of went back and forth and I said, this is ridiculous it’s a $5,000 bill. It’s not my fault, I couldn’t hear it running,” she said.
The worker told her the city had left a note on her door, but she never saw it and her doorbell camera didn’t catch anyone leaving a note.
“It really just feels like the city doesn’t care,” she said.
She hopes the community can learn from her experience and that the city changes how it deals with similar situations going forward.
“This is an important issue, sometimes deaf people do miss out. We don’t want your sympathy, we want you to be considerate and help be our ears,” she said.
Denise says the Frederick Community Action Agency came forward to help, and they’re going to cover her $4,820 bill.
Interpreter services for WDVM’s interview with Denise Sansonese were provided by ASL Interpreter Corps.