Scituate DPW officials will install 1,000 new water meters in West Scituate homes in the next few months as part of the first phase of a project to replace all 7,500 water meters in town.
The $190,000 process, which has been two years in the making, will replace existing meters in residential homes with ones that can be read remotely. The result will be devices that can be read quickly from the street, rather than sending town staff out to read every home individually.
“We have a program where we replace a small percentage of the meters every year, this will give us a jump start on more,” said Albert Bangert, Director of the Scituate DPW. “We’re already replacing meters, and they’ve been this type. This is just the chance to make a big impact where we can get a whole section of town done with one type of (meter).”
Bangert said that although the Water and Sewer Department has had the money for two years, the project was delayed just because of the number of ongoing developments in town.
“We have so many other water projects underway, we need to spread them out a bit,” he said. “We have things with flushing, work we’ve been doing at treatment plant, all the piping we’ve been doing, so we’re just now getting to this one.”
It will take a number of years to get all the meters switched to the newer version, but the hope is to eventually enable town staff to drive by houses and get readings more frequently.
Currently, readings are only taken once a quarter. More frequent readings would enable more accurate results for residents, Bangert said.
“By the time people get the information, it’s three-months, old,” Bangert said. ”We’d like to give them better information.”
West Scituate was chosen as the first area for the replacements after officials determined that the spread-out nature of the houses presented the most problem to town employees.
Bangert also said that rather than just replacing older models first, the town decided upon a sectional approach to the town, so that crews could take remote water readings in entire areas of town rather than just scattered homes.
The process will be ongoing over the next six months, and Water Department employees will install the meters. In some instances, employees will have to go into residents’ basements, however all employees will have identification on them, Bangert said.
Although a number of homes will have the remote readers after the first phase of the project is complete, Bangert said the town would wait until all the meters are replaced before more frequent readings could occur.
“We’ll have to wait untill we have a critical mass, till all of them are done, so we’re a number of years away from [that],” Bangert said.