MACON, Ga. — Ray Ellerbee flips through past water bills.

"In February, I paid $13.80," Ellerbee said.

On average, his bills cost around $30 a month, but in October it changed drastically.

"205,700 gallons," Ellerbee said. That amount of water cost him about $694.

Macon Water Authority says they checked the home several times for leaks, inside and out, but found nothing. 

"If it had been under the ground, it would come through the top. If it was on top, I'd be in a lake," Ellerbee said.

To put that amount of water into perspective, 200,000 gallons of water is the equivalent of more than a quarter of an Olympic-size pool.

That's more than 6,000 gallons a day, and more than four gallons a minute.

RELATED: After malware hack, Macon Water Authority sees estimated bills

With no signs of that amount of water around his home, Ellerbee questions how he could have used that much water.

"I wash clothes once a week, take a couple showers a week, and sit here," he said.

Guy Boyle with the water authority says supervisors checked the water meter several times and verified the reading.

He says this may be due to a hose, or faucet, running for a long time.

"So, I had run that hose pipe upside the ditch right there and was going to burn the stuff in the ditch," Ellerbee said.

He planned on burning yard debris in a ditch, and pulled his water hose over to the ditch. Ellerbee decided against it when he saw his water bill. 

Ellerbee says he never used the hose once he saw the bill, and he is sure he left no running water.

Boyle says when the water authority sees a large bill with no leak, they work to give the customer time to pay and provide resources for people who need financial assistance.

He says Ellerbee's billing happened weeks before the ransomware attack that crippled their billing system, so it is unrelated.


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