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Water Meter Replacement Set to Start

Randy Hinchliffe: Waitsburg city Administrator


April 26, 2018

With the annual election over and the same city council re-elected to another term, the city of Waitsburg is moving forward with a variety of projects, including water meter replacement and various design and engineering work for future system improvements.

At the last city council meeting, the council authorized my office to start the water meter replacement project, which at its base is the replacement of approximately 550 water meters throughout the city at an expense of about $300,000. With the majority of water meters being on average 60 years old, this project has a number of benefits to the city and leads off with the elimination of the remaining know lead sources in our water system as a means to comply with the governor’s directive to eliminate all sources of lead in Group A water systems within a certain number of years. While there is lead in our system, there is no reason to be concerned with the current levels; our water was tested recently and on average contains less than .001 mg/L of lead, which is lower than lowest level of testing required by the state.

In addition to the lead removal component, it will also free up a considerable amount of public works time associated with reading the water meters, allowing them to complete other tasks. It currently takes two employees about one week to read all of the meters, and after the meters are replaced, one employee will be able to read all of the meters in just a few hours. Other benefits include the recapture of lost revenue associated with slowing down of the old meters and elimination of the need to do a winter prorate, as we will be able to read the meters year-round, which also allows us to catch water leaks before they get out of control.

The plan is to start the work in May with two crews of two employees each working in various areas of the city, with work expected to last about six months. On days they are working at or near your property, the water will be shut off for period of time, with the average replacement taking about two hours to complete.

Once the new meters are up and running smoothly, this project will guarantee the meters for at least the next 20 years, and will allow us to keep up on the replacements as needed rather than waiting and paying for excess of 500 meters at once.


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