City of Sheridan & SAWS to Replace Water Meters this Summer
Most of the existing ± 9,000 water meters within the City and SAWS water service area are about 20 years old and in need of replacement. This summer the City & SAWS will begin replacing their water meters and endpoints, and upgrade the way that their meters are read with a new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system.
Project cost is covered by state grants and 0 percent loans.
- Fifty percent of the project is being paid for by a state grant. The remaining cost of the project will be managed with a 20-year, 0-percent state loan.
Meters will be more accurate and efficient.
- New meters will measure water with 99% to 100% accuracy. Due to their age, your current meter is most likely measuring 90% to 96% accurate. As a result, your water usage will register more accurately with the new meter and will show higher than with your old meter for the same amount of water. Customers will be able to monitor usage and manage their usage through the City’s new customer service portal.
- New meters will be solid state, quieter and better equipped to identify leaks and other issues. They are also warrantied for 20 years.
New online portal will enhance customer service.
- Customers will now be able to monitor real-time water consumption daily, which can help manage monthly bills. It will also help identify leaks, reverse flow or other maintenance issues.
- Customers may compare use between current and previous periods, set and adjust target spending budgets, and manage email alerts for account problems or abnormal usage.
What happens now?
The City and SAWS have contracted with Mueller Systems to manage and implement this project. Installations will begin in the summer of 2017. Customers will be notified when installations begin in their area.
- Appointments will be available M-Sat.
- If your meter is in your home, you must be present during installation
- Most installations will take 15- 30 minutes
Most of Sheridan’s water meters are about 20 years old, the typical useful life for a water meter. Older meters tend to be less accurate and more prone to maintenance issues.
Over 9,000 residential and commercial water meters will be replaced as part of this project.
The project will cost about $3.8 million, and the City and SAWS-JPB are covering half of the cost through a state loan that comes with 100% principal forgiveness (a grant). The remaining half will be covered by a 0% 20-year state loan.
All citizens that rely on the City of Sheridan or SAWS-JPB for their water must have their meter replaced. Residents in Downer Addition will have their endpoints replaced.
For City and Powder Horn residents, water meters are typically located indoors within a basement, crawl space or utility closet. For County residents, water meters are typically located outside in a meter pit.
Today, meters are read by a meter technician who drives around in a truck that transmits a signal to read water use in each meter location. Current mechanical meters will be replaced with solid-state meters that are quieter and capable of uploading meter reading information without a technician and truck.
The new meter system will include an online portal where customers can access details about their water consumption on a daily basis. The City and SAWS-JPB also will continue to send monthly bills with usage graphs, which means that all residents will have the opportunity to review and manage their consumption.
Mueller will select an experienced, bonded contractor to install the meters and endpoints. Service and safety are paramount; so all installers will be carefully screened.
Yes, if your water meter is located within your home or business (typical for City and Powder Horn residents) a person 18 years of age or older must be present during the meter installation. If your water meter is located outside your home or business within a meter pit (typical for County residents) you will not need to be present during the meter installation. Downer Addition residents do not need to be present during installation of their endpoints because they are located outside of the home.
Yes, if your water meter is located within your home or business (typical for City and Powder Horn residents) the vendor/contractor will need to enter your home or business to replace the water meter. If your meter is located outside your home or business within a meter pit (typical for County residents) you will not need to be present during the meter installation.
Typical installation of a meter takes 15 to 30 minutes. We will require our contractor to offer convenient installation appointments from Monday through Saturday.
Yes, there will be a temporary interruption during the installation process, typically 15 to 30 minutes. Residents will schedule their own installation, so they will be able to plan for it.
There will be no cost for the meter or the installation. The new meters will be 99% to 100% accurate. Because of their age and mechanical nature, current meters are between 90% to 96% accurate. Due to the higher accuracy, you can anticipate your water bill to be 3-10% higher for using the same amount of water once the new meter is installed.Residents will be provided with the ability to monitor their usage online or through their bill and choose to decrease consumption in order to manage their bill in the future.
If installers discover issues that require work that goes beyond the new water meter installation, residents may be responsible.
Prior to installation, residents should ensure that their meter is accessible, which means that an installer can comfortably access and remove the old meter and install the new one.
Once a contractor is selected by Mueller, work will begin shortly thereafter. Residents will be contacted to schedule their water meter or endpoint replacement, and installations are expected to begin summer 2017.
If any issues arise after installation, residents can immediately notify the contractor, which will have a 24-hour customer service line.
Existing water meters within the Downer Neighborhood Improvement and Service District will not be replaced as part of this project. However, endpoints will be replaced.
Yes, the contractor will coordinate with all water customers in order to get their meters replaced. The City/SAWS anticipates that the new water metering system will have the ability to notify the City and their customers, including “snowbirds”, when there is use from an inactive water account. This will be very beneficial in the event of a water leak when customers are out of town.
The new water meters will continue to measure the amount of water customers use for billing purposes. In addition, the new water meters will have the ability to identify and notify the City and customers if the meter has been removed, if water is flowing backwards through the meter, or if there is a significant continuous flow through the meter that would indicate a water leak. The way in which customers use their water (watering the lawn, at the kitchen sink, etc.) will not be known or specifically measurable with the new system. The City will not actively monitor individual water usage, nor will it share water usage data with third parties.
No it is not. The existing mechanical “positive displacement” water meters in the City / SAWS have a useful life of approximately 20 years, which is the age of most of the meters within the system. Similar to other mechanical devices, our current water meters are subject to wear and eventual failure. The mechanical meters also lose their accuracy over time. This is why the water meters are being replaced.
As you may know, the City is proactive in garnering grants and loans for infrastructure improvements, which supports short- and long-term economic development. The City has been planning for this meter replacement project for years, knowing that the meters were coming to the end of their useful life. Fortunately, the City / SAWS were successful in applying for and procuring the following funding to minimize financial impact to customers. Citizens will not be billed for new water meters. However, increased water use measurement accuracy may cause increased monthly bills.
Overall project cost estimate of $3.8M
- Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loans: $3,100,000: 50% grant/50% 0%, 20-year loan
- Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Loan: $700,000: 50% grant/50% 0%, 20-year loan
The new water metering system will consist of essentially the same hardware components as the existing system. Water meters located within building structures (typical for City and Powder Horn customers) are connected to a transmitter device that is mounted on the exterior of the building structure. Water meters located within meter pits (typical for County customers) are connected to a transmitter device that is mounted through the lid of the meter pit. As part of this project, existing water meters and transmitter devices within the system will be replaced.
Currently, and since 2002, a truck with a meter reading device drives ±29 routes throughout the City/SAWS water service area to collect water use information for all water accounts within a particular route; this information is passed wirelessly from the individual water account transmitter device to the trucks reading device. With the new system, we’ll continue collecting information for billing purposes through the same means, but without the truck as the middleman.
The new system will allow customers to manage their water consumption and monitor their own usage through a secure web-based customer portal. The City will not actively monitor individual water use from their customers.
In addition, because the new system will measure water use more accurately, the City / SAWS will be able to do a better job predicting long-term water usage, which will help with supply management.
For customers who would like to continue receiving City / SAWS water service, a new water meter and/or endpoint will be required.
Ridgepoint Project Manager
Phone: (307) 675-5434