Water meter replacement project begins

Published 6:11 pm Friday, February 2, 2024

GATESVILLE – A project to replace over 4,000 water meters countywide is underway.

At the most recent meeting of the Gates County Board of Commissioners, Brad Arnold, the county’s Public Works Director, gave an update on the installation of new radio read water meters. That project began the first week of December and is ongoing.

Arnold said that as of the second week of January, 420 new meters are in the ground, which represents approximately 10 percent of the overall project.

He added that a trial run, involving 25 of those new meters, was recently completed and that all were accurately reading the water flow.

“Now we’re going to ride by all [newly installed] meters with a computer and see how that goes,” Arnold said.

Arnold said the new meters are located along NC 37, beginning at Eleanor’s Crossroads north to Sarem Road and Water Plant Road, back towards US 13, to include the Reynoldson and Boonetown areas.

County Manager Scott Sauer said the new meters are “extremely accurate” which may lead to citizens questioning the amount of water usage due to the fact they were paying a lower water bill because the old meters were not properly measuring the exact amount used.

“In those instances, Brad’s staff will place a door hanger at the customer’s front door that explains what the water reading was and to encourage them to have their plumbing checked for leaks,” Sauer stated.

“If someone has a high water bill, they are welcomed to call the Water Department,” noted Commissioner Jonathan Craddock.

Arnold said the new technology allows his department to go back and find when the peak hours, and amount of water usage, are per each customer.

“These meters are programmed to read down to one-64th of a gallon. So even if you have a dripping faucet at your home, it will read it,” Arnold stressed.

In July of last year, the county commissioners gave their final approval to the water meter replacement project. At that time it was noted that approximately 25 percent of those meters are not accurately registering the amount of water used monthly, which is costing the county roughly $1.3 million a year.

The new meters, which come at a cost of more than one million dollars, use radio-read technology, meaning their usage amounts can be read remotely.

The new meters will be installed at the 4,638 locations of service for the Gates County Water System.

The lone formal bid for the meter replacement project came from Consolidated Pipe and Supply Company of Greenville in the amount of $1,400,693.66.

The commissioners had previously budgeted $1.2 million of the ARP (American Rescue Plan) funds that the county received from the federal government. A budget amendment in the amount of $200,693.66 plus an additional 10 percent in a project contingency fund was approved by the commissioners, with the money coming from the county’s Water Fund.

 

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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