BWD moves forward with meter upgrade

WELLSVILLE – Some Buckeye Water District customers will soon have their water meter upgraded with new high-tech radar read technology.

At BWD’s Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday, water district officials shared some of the details of the project and set a tentative date for work to begin.

At the previous meeting on June 19, trustees approved a joint proposal from the Finance and Engineering Committees to purchase 2,601 radio-read water meters from Neptune Technology Group of Cincinnati.

District Manager Al DeAngelis estimated at the time that the new high tech meters would cost about $416,646. The district plans to pay for the meters with a 15-year, zero percent-interest loan from the Ohio Public Works Commission. Installation of the meters by Neptune Technology is included in the cost.

Radio-read meters are already being used effectively in some portions of BWD’s territory, including Salineville and parts of Calcutta and West Point, according to the board.

District Office Manager Gregg Stanley explained that the radar meters are essentially a time saving measure which allows district employees to collect meter information using a radar gun type of device.

Stanley reported to the board that he expects Neptune Technology employees to begin installing the new meter some time around the first week of August. He said letters will be sent to BWD customers before the start of the project.

When questioned by board members as to whether district customers will be able to identify Neptune employees, Stanley said he was not sure, but assumed they would have some sort of way of identifying themselves, so as not to alarm customers.

“They’re supposed to be identifiable and verifiable,” said Stanley

Stanley wished to clarify that most meters would not be replaced entirely, rather existing meters will be outfitted with a radio technology. He said, with the exception of old or damaged meters, the upgrade process should be quick and simple.

Stanley noted that, in rare few cases, Neptune employees may need to enter customer’s homes to perform the upgrade. However, customers will be able to schedule appointments for Neptune employees to the job.

“I’m going to go out on a limb and say that better than 90 percent of them (meter upgrades) will be a walk-up, change-out and move to the next one type of job,” said Stanley.

In other business, board member Mike Ryan reported that the district will begin its regularly scheduled audit next Monday. The audit will be performed by the Cleveland-based, private accounting firm Harrison & Company. The audit is expected to take about three weeks according to board members.

In other financial news, board members reviewed and approved the budget for the coming year at a finance committee on Wednesday. Ryan reported that, generally speaking, the water district is doing well financially and will remain in the black for the coming year.