A BOLTON businessman faces ruin after a mystery leak led to a water bill for £6,500!

Peter Greenhalgh, who runs Discount Packaging on Blackburn Road, was stunned when he was faced with the huge demand after his water meter showed he had lost more than a million gallons in just three months.

Before the meter was installed at his business, along with others in the town, the bill was £30 per quarter, based on the ratable value of his property.

But the meter showed he was consuming huge amounts of water, the equivalent of filling Horwich swimming pool four times. After engineers from North West Water inspected the property Mr Greenhalgh was told he had a leak and was responsible for the losses.

Mr Greenhalgh said there has been no loss of pressure and he has been unable to trace the leak. He claims he would need a pneumatic drill to find it because he has a concrete floor.

In August, Mr Greenhalgh asked NWW to turn off his supply and has been without water since then. Staff have been drinking bottled water and barrels are brought in regularly to be used to flush the toilet.

Mr Greenhalgh said: "They have told me the leak is on my property and I am responsible for the bill. I want to repair the leak, but I have no idea where it is and I don't know where to start. I'd need a pneumatic drill to dig everything up. "If I end up having to pay this bill it could put me out of business. The frightening thing is that this could happen to anyone with a meter and I would strongly advise people to keep a regular watch on their meter to check they are not losing too much water."

A spokesman for NWW said: "He has told us he does not want to have the leak repaired at the moment because he is planning redevelopment work.

"He is responsible for repairing the leak but when he confirms to us that it has been repaired it is the policy of NWW that we will give an allowance to reduce the bill."

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