City of Mandan Kicks Off Major Water Meter Project
The City of Mandan’s water meter readers currently endure cold temperatures, snow, and icy sidewalks to do their jobs. In some cases snow limits access to read the meters, so the City must estimate water usage for those properties. By this time next year, these issues will be a thing of the past as Mandan has found a more efficient method to record water usage.
Mandan will soon begin a city-wide water meter upgrade project that will impact nearly all of the 6,600 water meters in the City. Meter readers will rarely have to venture onto private property to do their jobs because the updated water meter system will transmit water usage data via radio transmissions. Utility workers will be able to drive by a property to log water usage or collect the data via radio towers instead of walking onto private property to read meters.
The current water meter assemblies in Mandan vary in age, brand, size, and accuracy thus requiring various methods to read them. This project will upgrade or replace nearly all of the water meters in Mandan between April 2014 and January 2015, so the City will have a uniform system. When practical, existing meter equipment will be salvaged.
The City recently advertised for a contractor to complete the project. After a contractor is selected in March, a contractor representative will begin contacting property owners to schedule appointments to upgrade or replace water meter assemblies in homes and businesses. To ensure the public’s safety, the City will require the contractor’s installation technicians to pass a background check before the installations begin. The technicians will also be required to wear photo ID badges and be able to provide each property’s specific work order number as further proof of their identity. In addition, the installation technicians’ photos will be posted on the City’s website with the rest of the project information.
The cost of the project is already covered by the City’s current water and sewer rates. Property owners will not see an increase in their water rates unless their previous water meters have been inaccurately reporting their water usage. There will be no cost to property owners for installing the new water meter assemblies.
In older properties, some of the pipes, water shut-off valves, or curb stops may need to be updated to work properly with the new water meters. In cases such as this, homeowners will be responsible for the cost of updates or modifications needed to operate the new meter assembly. The contractor will explain to property owners any additional improvements that need to be made and the cost associated with those improvements. The costs could range from a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars.
The project schedule will be communicated via the City’s newsletter and posted and updated over the next few months on the City’s website, www.cityofmandan.com.