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Redeemer's owners will get hefty water bill

The Verndale city council decided to send the owners of a closed church a bill that will likely be in the thousands of dollars after some ruptured pipes led to a huge water leak.

City Maintenance Supervisor Jim Bergquist said he noticed higher use on the city wells in January and traced it to some frozen and broken pipes in the basement of Redeemer Lutheran Church. About 17,000 gallons per day leaked through, but most of it ended up in the city's sewer system. The meter registered a total of 670,000 gallons used.

Council member Jim Runyan asked how much the bill would be for such an incident.

"It would be in the thousands of dollars," Bergquist said.

But he said the city has forgiven such bills in the past. Runyan wanted to know why.

"It's not your fault," he told Bergquist. "It's not the city's fault."

Runyan suggested the owners of the church be sent a bill.

"Somebody has to be responsible for that," Runyan said.

The council agreed. It voted to bill the owners for the water leak.