Water meter antenna

Bo Stinnett demonstrates how the new antenna would sit on top of a water meter cover. Photo by Stan Schwartz

Readings will be made electronically

By Stan Schwartz

 

BOWLING GREEN—People living in Wards 1 and 2 may have noticed a chrome colored disk on top of their water meter cover.

It is an antenna that will connect the new meter installed below the cover with the city’s water department, said Bo Stinnett with Alliance Water Resources, the contractor hired by the city to install the new meters and the antennas.

“We are installing a radio-read system,” Stinnett said. “When it’s all said and done, we’ll be able to access the readings through a computer.”

The system is so sensitive, he noted, that most of the readings could be read from City Hall. Those homes farther away, would need a vehicle to drive by to pick up the signal.

Currently, Alliance Water Resources personnel are drilling holes in the top of the meter plates to install the antennas. They come back at a later date to install the new water meter.

When a new meter is installed, Stinnett said the customer would be without water for about 10-15 minutes.

With this new system, he added, the city would be able to tell when a home is experiencing a leak, either inside the home or somewhere between the home and the meter.

“We’ve been trying for years to get this improvement,” he said, “because the cost is rather expensive.” The cost savings to the customer and the city to be able to detect leaks would eventually outweigh the cost of the new system.

Wards 1 and 2 have already received antennas on their water meters. Weather permitting, Stinnett said they hope to have Ward 3 done before winter. Once the antennas are in place, the crews go back to install the meters. So far, he said, they have installed about 300 of them.

“Our goal is to try and do the whole town—we’re giving it everything we got to get it all done before winter,” he said.

It will be a few more weeks before work is started in Ward 3.

“Installing the meters takes a little longer than the antennas,” Stinnett said. “And we have other jobs that have to be done, as well,” he added.

The important thing to note, he said, is that customers should take care when doing yard work around the antennas.

Cost for damaged antennas would be the homeowner’s responsibility, he said. Information on the antennas would be included with information sent to customers.

The disk is about 6 inches in diameter and rises above the water meter cover about three-fourths of an inch.

“Every meter has an identification number on it,” Stinnett added. “So, we’ll get to know exactly where it’s located.”

It’s a powerful tool to have, he said, because it can identify where leaks are occurring, even if the customer doesn’t know it. The cost savings for the city and customer would be significant.

There are about 1,500 meters inside the city limits, and so far, about 300-400 have been updated.

Stinnett said the water plant can produce 650,000 gallons of water a day. City customers use between 100,000 and 150,000 gallons a day.

If customers have any questions about the meters, they should call the water department at 573-324-2660 or call City Hall.

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