EC/S decides on remote meter reading
Working on priority projects for the town of East Carbon-Sunnyside, city officials voted unanimously Tuesday night to seek funding for an area wide meter reading system which would replace the need for town employees to go from home to home visually reading water usage.
The East Carbon council heard from Sensus Engineering during their council session, a company that is represented locally by Mountainland Supply. The team demonstrated a system which would allow the the towns maintenance department to read water meters in a fraction of the time city workers spend walking the grid.
Currently, East Carbon maintenance employees must pull every manhole cover in the city to read the gallons used at a specific residence. The system demonstrated by Mountainland Supply uses a radio frequency device to gather information from the city's meters in one of two ways.
Maintenance crews can either check the meters with a hand held device, or use a mounted computer which allows them to drive through the city checking monthly usage. While the cost is comparable for both units, the vehicle mounted option includes a computer and is therefore slightly more expensive.
According to Joey Liddle and Matt McAllister, who presented for Mountainland, the system is extremely accurate and also is able to recognize when a possible mistake being made in a given reading.
For example, if a vacant home goes from no usage to 10,000 gallons in a month's time, the system takes note and reports to the operator.
Sunnyside installed a similar system two years ago when they re-built their water and sewer infrastructure.
According to former Sunnyside Maintenance Supervisor Mike Marquez, the units are both reliable and accurate. They also do cut reading time significantly. Think of the difference between going from home to home and pulling the manhole to read a meter in comparison to standing in a single location and downloading water data from dozens of homes at once, he said.
As the council began questioning the presentation given by Mountainland, David Maggio brought up the issue of re-reads and the cost these disputed readings bring to the city.
"That's more time and more wages that our citizens are forced to pay for," he said. "If we can eliminate that with this system we are going to see a significant savings month after month."
The total cost of installing the system in East Carbon would be approximately $289,200.
According to Mayor pro tem Barbara Robinett, one reason the East Carbon-Sunnyside council are moving forward with this grant application at the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board is the priority nature of the project. With the increased size of the city, every month they don't use an automated system, is a month they are losing money.
"When me and Dave went up there to see the CIB this month they were very kind about giving us our cemetery grant," she said. "So we want to do what we can to get the funding for a project that will help our city save money."
The council decided to go after the drive by system and manhole covers contingent upon grant approval by the CIB.
Mountainland will now prepare a presentation for the impact board to demonstrate just how much money will be saved by the system and how accurate it will be concerning area water use.