Town mulls automated water meters

February 04, 1993|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

A Wisconsin company touting a better water meter is hoping the town of Manchester will beat a path to its door.

Manchester's ad hoc committee on water and sewers heard a sales pitch last night from Badger Meter Inc., of Milwaukee, for an automated water meter system that would eliminate the need for meter readers.

Some Town Council members also attended the presentation.

"We're looking real hard at this system," said Steven L. Miller, the town's water and sewer superintendent. "The elderly people like it because that's one less person who's going to be nosing around their homes"

The automated system uses computerized water meters that automatically call a computer in the town office at night to report meter readings. The meters also would call the town to report possible water leaks and meter tampering.

Mr. Miller estimated that the initial cost of the system would be $30,000 for a computer and software, plus $150 and installation costs for each meter.

The town currently has 942 water meters in service. Mr. Miller said the town would buy about 100 to 125 meters a year to spread out the total cost.

"There's no doubt in my mind the system would save the town money over the long run," Mr. Miller said, because he could assign other work to five men now reading meters.

The system also would eliminate the need to hire more meter readers in the next five years.

Mr. Miller said he has spoken to water department officials in Howard and Frederick counties, where the system is in place, and they recommended it.

"The more I look into this system," he said, "this is the way to go."

Mr. Miller said he hoped to have money for the system in his department's 1993-1994 budget.

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