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Aging water meters could be replaced

Andy Ouriel • Dec 2, 2013 at 7:30 AM

But before swapping out about 10,000 devices, they agreed to place new meters in a specific area as a test run of sorts.

City commissioners recently voted 6-0 on spending $175,000 in local funds for new meters installed primarily on Sandusky’s south side. Commissioner Diedre Cole didn’t attend the meeting.

Water meters tell officials how much water a single customer uses. A customer could be a person living in a home or a business.

It’s not known exactly how many new meters will go into this area, which includes Campbell Street, Pipe Street and Remington Avenue. Crews will also install meters at Cedar Point and Sandusky High School.

But consider this: Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein estimates it’ll take about $3 million to replace all 10,000 meters, most of which were installed around 1990.

Klein, however, advocated against replacing every single meter at once.

He wants to see how a pilot program for water meters would work in a smaller area before investing a large sum into newer devices across Sandusky.

“The meters that we have now are 23 years old,” said Klein, adding most water meters’ life span is about 20 years. “They’re not as accurate as they used to be. Obviously with technology improving, the accuracy of the meters has greatly improved over time”

Older meters, at times, produce wrong readings.

“We are billing out less than the actual water we’re providing,” Klein said. “The meters tend to fault low. We are in the process of analyzing how we can address this situation and get better accuracy”

Among the other advantages for newer devices: City officials can immediately read water meters and see what’s wrong with them from a specific location rather than manually visiting and inspecting a device on site.

By the numbers

• 10,000: Rough count of water meters in city

• 23: Age of most city water meters.

• 20: Recommend number of years before city water meters should be replaced. 

• $175,000: Amount city officials recently agreed to spend on new water meters in certain areas for a pilot program.

• $3 million: Estimated amount to replace every single water meter in Sandusky.

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