Administrators of Highridge Water Authority now say the amount of water illegally obtained at a Buffington Township residence over the past five months was 3.2 million gallons, and the stolen water is valued at $23,900.
Colleen Marino, finance director for the authority, said the illegal connection to the authority’s 8-inch water main was made at 1762 Ridge Road. The property is owned by Mark Campbell, she said.
According to Marino, an authority water main was extended through the Ridge Road area in late 2009 and early 2010, and a tap was made for Campbell’s property. But a connection fee was never paid and turning on water service to the property was never authorized, she said.
Instead, an illegal connection was made, and the water line broke during the winter, causing a leak of 15 gallons per minute under the home that continued for perhaps 150 days, Marino said.
State police at Indiana are investigating the illegal connection as a theft. Police said the amount of stolen water was originally estimated at between 2 million and 3 million gallons and was illegally obtained between Jan. 1 and May 27.