The White Barn Farm in Wrentham, Massachusetts, uses a lot of water but when they got their most recent water bill, they knew something was wrong.
Christy Kantlehner, the farm's owner, said it was for $15,000.
It was their spring water bill — which normally would have been only about $800 for the six-month period.
"In shock and kind of in denial," said Kantlehner. "Not sure if I can really even process this."
Get Boston local news, weather forecasts, lifestyle and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Boston’s newsletters.
So she and her family started investigating their property.
They realized one of their hydrants had been leaking underground, and likely for months.
"There was a faulty piece of metal," she said.
In-depth news coverage of the Greater Boston Area.
The town has agreed to an abatement, knocking off more than $3,000.
The farm paid the bill, but it will lead to a financial struggle.
"A $12,000 unexpected water bill is kind of crippling for our business," Kantlehner said.
The farm went before the town board this week hoping for a large refund, but town officials say they're typically not too liberal in granting a lot of relief for water issues.
Kantlehner has come up with her own plan she hopes the town will approve: the farm would cover $4,000, and make up the rest with things like donations to the local food pantry, hosting free tours of the farm for Wrentham residents, and offering up their property for different events.
"It doesn't mean that we think we deserve an entire break," she said. "But is there a different way we can pay for it?"
Town officials say they will discuss the issue at their next board meeting in August.