The City of Rockmart is currently working to change out their water meters for city customers, and are expecting the process to continue over the next few years.
City Clerk Pam Herring said that more than 150 new water meters from AMI. She said the city went with a new supplier for the meters, which will now be measured via a radio-based system and provide real-time recordings of water flow to home and business customers.
“We feel like these meters will be more dependable,” Herring said. “We’ve done a lot of research into the decision to change.”
She said the previous switch made in 2007 was contracted out, and the decision this time was to bring the work in-house to the water department. If funds can be found, she said the city might look into the possibility of bringing in a small company or individuals to help with the process.
“By using our people in the city to complete the work, we feel they will do a better job and also the city can be made aware of other issues that can happen as it takes place,” Herring said.
Depending on the workload at any given time for employees working on the water system in the field, it could take less time than the projected three years.
However, as new meters are installed the city wanted to ensure that customers were aware that city employees would be out making the meter swaps in due time, and to not be alarmed by their arrival.
The new water meters will hopefully provide benefit to both the city and water customers, Herring said. Because they have real-time monitoring capabilities with a radio-based connection, the city can receive alerts when a customer is going over their average water usage to help detect leaks, and also alarms will be raised if the meter is tampered with in any way.
“Currently, you might not realize you have a leak until we go out and read the meters once a month,” Herring said. “A leak might gush for an entire month before anyone would know it.”
Deterring lost water and unexpected large bills for customers is just one goal with the system being installed. Reducing the labor time for reading meters house-to-house on a monthly basis will also benefit the city as well.
This is the first change of the water meters since 2007, when a new system was last installed. Some meters will last longer than the 12 years of use on the current equipment in place, and Herring said they sometimes last longer.
Antennas have also already been installed for the new system, allowing the 150-plus water meters already in place to be utilized fully.