Parchment residents complaining of high water bills

Toxic Tap Water

PARCHMENT, Mich. (WOOD) — It’s been more than two months since high levels of PFAS were found in the City of Parchment’s water supply. Kalamazoo flushed Parchment’s system and has been providing clean drinking water ever since. 

Now, some people say they’re being overcharged for their water.

Some Parchment residents have taken to social media, complaining about what they’re calling unusually high water bills.

“(My water bill) was definitely an increase from the last quarter by about $25,” said Parchment resident Kristen Capelli.

Capelli recently received her quarterly water bill.  She’s skeptical it’s accurate. 

“Which leaves kind of a bad taste in everybody’s mouth, considering the majority of the residents of Parchment from what I can gather don’t feel safe drinking the water as of yet,” she said.

>>Inside PFAS and toxic tap water investigation

She’s not alone. Dozens of people have commented on social media, saying their water bills are higher than normal. A few said their water bills went down this quarter.

“Who calculates these bills? Who figures them out? Who decides what resident pays what and how is that all formulated as well, too? Is it the City of Parchment? Is Kalamazoo putting their input in it?  When are we going to switch over and start paying the bill to Kalamazoo, since they do provide our water?” asked Capelli.

24 Hour News 8 went to Parchment City Hall to get some answers. 

“It’s just whatever their usage was, whatever they were comfortable with using,” said Parchment City Manager Nancy Stoddard. “Maybe they opted to not water a garden, things like that that they normally did in the previous year.” 

Stoddard says there are several factors that could explain why water bills may be higher for this billing period – and none of them have to do with PFAS.

“The water and sewer and rates are looked over periodically by a water and sewer committee,” she explained. “They make a recommendation to the (city) commission. It was in May of this year that the commission voted to increase the amount of demand charges for the city.”

Stoddard also says six to nine more days were added to this quarter’s water bill.

“That would elevate a bill slightly also,” she said.

The billing period began in June, which means people were also billed for about six weeks’ worth of water use before high levels of PFAS were detected in Parchment’s water supply in late July. 

“During this whole billing cycle time, things like showering, lawn watering, toilet flushing, dishwashing, all these kind of things were still very normal use for water and that was throughout the whole cycle,” Stoddard said.

“I have received services, so I will pay for (them),” said Capelli. “But am I happy about it?  No.”

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