Joe Camp, Maumee’s public-service director, displays the new electronic water meter at the municipal building. The meters, being installed throughout Maumee, will send usage info electronically.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
Got a leaking toilet in your house? Or maybe a faulty lawn-irrigation system? In Maumee, the city water utility is increasingly able to send alerts about such problems to its customers.
And within a few months, customers can register online to get water-use data and alerts for themselves.
Better water-use information is one of two major benefits Joe Camp, Maumee’s public-service director, expects from the city’s on-going installation of electronic water meters to its residential and commercial water customers.
The other benefit is eliminating the need to send meter readers out every three months to collect billing data. The new meters will beam that information to 142 tiny repeater stations, mounted on signposts throughout the city, which in turn will radio the data to eight receivers. Conservation benefits are expected as well, he said.
Replacing Maumee’s water meters is expected to cost about $2.2 million, Mr. Camp said.
Completion is expected in late July or early August. Once the new meters are active, Mr. Camp said, the city will activate an Internet portal through which customers may set up accounts to view their water-consumption data, set goals, and receive electronic alerts about excessive or unusual readings.
Already, Mr. Camp said, city officials have received system-driven alerts about unusual water consumption that was traced to running toilets, irrigation leaks, and faulty furnace humidifiers and notified customers within 24 hours. In the past, that would be water down the drain — and bills higher than necessary for customers — until such problems were found, he said.
“It’s a way for us to help the homeowner and avoid wasting water,” he said.
The money for new meters and their installation is funded by Maumee’s water fund and a recently approved 10-year bond issue.