Fast-food restaurant gets huge water bill

Posted: Wednesday, August 12, 2009

FAIRBANKS - The owner of the Wendy's restaurant in North Pole is trying to figure out why he has a whopper of a water bill.

Wendy's owner Rick Ireland received a bill about eight times more than normal: $8,866.80.

Ireland said when he examined the bill more closely, it appeared the restaurant used more than 300,000 gallons of water. The eatery normally uses about one-tenth of that amount.

Ireland immediately checked for leaking pipes or some other problem but found nothing out of the ordinary.

"Somehow, our water usage just went crazy," he told the City Council. "I am throwing myself at your mercy."

The panel is trying to figure out what went wrong.

Councilman Kevin McCarthy, an amateur plumber, investigated the plumbing at the restaurant. He said it was obvious there wasn't a leak because a 300,000-gallon leak would have created a pond where the eatery sits.

"Your building would be in a hole," McCarthy told Ireland. "It would be sunk."

North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson said a couple of times a year someone will get a ridiculously high water bill, often because of a leak.

In the past, the city has set up payment plans or forgiven portions of the bill.

What makes Ireland's situation different is that no one knows what happened to all the water.

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