Installation begins next week on new wireless water meter system 9/6/2013

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 6, 2013

Installation begins next week on new wireless water meter system

By John Howell Sr.

Door to door installation of automated water meter valves will begin in Batesville next week.
Representatives of Delta Water will be knocking on the doors of water customers in the northeast part of the city to replace the existing valves in their water meters with automated meter reader (AMR) valves that will relay water use information via a wireless signal.

 Mendrop Engineering representative Lauralee Gann said that workers will not start before 8 a.m. They will only knock to inform the water user that the water supply will be shut off for 15 to 30 minutes during the changeover. The workers will not need to enter a home or business to make the conversion, she said.

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“Most people won’t ever see them,” Gann said.

Changeovers will begin Monday north of Highway 6, south of Highway 35 and east of Interstate 55 — one of seven water meter reading routes in the city, Gann said. The first route is likely to have the newest water meters. The $1.094 million contract calls for Delta Water to install the AMR devices on the city’s 3,500 water meters. Gann said that AMR should be fully implemented by January. Changeovers for commercial and industrial accounts will be scheduled for the convenience of the owners and/or operators.

Meter readers will continue manual meter readings until the changeover is fully complete and tested.

Once the changeover has proved fully operational, meter readers will read using a laptop in their city vehicles. As the vehicle nears the proximity of a meter, the laptop activates a sensor that transmits water usage back to the reader’s laptop via a wireless signal, she said.

The changeover is being coordinated by the contractor, meter readers and city utility clerks.
The purchase will be paid from a loan through the State Department of Health’s State Drinking Water Revolving Fund, city engineer Blake Mendrop told the mayor and aldermen in June. The interest is less than two percent and the $250,000 principal will be forgiven under the terms of the loan.

Gann said that loans are made available to municipalities to encourage water conservation. The new meters measure water usage in small amounts as well as at normal rates of flow. The more precise calculations will help eliminate disparity between how much water the city pumps from its wells and how much is actually billed to customers.