PENHOLD - A quarter million dollar project to bring in new and more advanced water meters for town residences and businesses is underway.
And the project will now be “fast-tracked” for completion within a few months instead of a previous phased-in plan of four years.
“We are going ahead with the full change out,” he said. “We have fast-tracked the job, and we are going to be doing it immediately,” said Town of Penhold Mayor Mike Yargeau.
At council’s regular meeting on Oct. 26, a motion was passed to move ahead with the purchase of replacement meter heads to complete the changeover to the Master Meter Automated Reading System, new and improved technology the town has been seeking to get for the past year. The town will now order them for a six to eight week delivery.
Yargeau said the cost of the replacement meter heads, which has advanced technology over previous meters, will be about $250,000 and paid with town funds. “We had planned for this. The money is in our reserves. This isn’t costs that we weren’t prepared for,” said the mayor.
He said the town had originally looked at a lengthy phase-in project but there was a malfunction with the transmitter, a device that sends the signal to the reader.
“As we had more problems with the reading equipment and the transmitters we just decided, ‘you know what? We need to just get this done and make sure everything is working properly,” said Yargeau, emphasizing the problem lies with the system’s transmitters, not the meters. “The meters themselves are not malfunctioning. They are reading accurately. The issue we are having is the signal from the meter to the reading device.
“We’re not able to pull the readings with our reader, so we’ve had to do estimates for some months or send public works to each street and they have another reader they can get it from but it obviously takes a lot longer,” he added.
Yargeau said the new transmitters for the meters have been ordered but the town does not yet have a timeline for delivery.
He said when the transmitters do arrive a public works staff member will have to go into a dwelling and install them onto the meter.
Yargeau said about 100 dwellings in town already have the new water meters. He said when the project is completed there will be up to 1,100 locations in town outfitted with new meters that have the advanced Master Meter Automated Reading System.
“We have to now follow a process with residents to get access into their homes, so that can go either really easy or take a long time depending on the home owners,” he said. “It’s public works going in. We have to provide notice to residents. It will still take months to get the entire town done.”