Niagara Gazette

March 25, 2013

Falls Water Board to begin installing radio-read water meters next month

By Justin Sondel
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The Niagara Falls Water Board will begin its efforts to replace residential water meters in April.

The board has announced that its contractor on the project, Yarussi Construction Company, will begin the first phase of the $4.8 million project that will replace the old meters with remote radio-read meters that will allow water board employees to take readings from the street.

“This is our latest investment to modernize and further improve the efficiency of our operations through state of the art technology as many meters currently in our system are over twenty years old and must be read manually and are often in need of repair,” Paul Drof, the water board’s executive director, said.

The citywide project will begin in the North End. Representatives from the contractor will soon begin scheduling appointments with resident for the first phase of the project which will be available between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and during the same times on Saturday in some cases, according to a press release from the board.

The new meters will decrease the amount of man hours spent collecting readings, eliminate inefficiencies caused by estimated readings and will alert homeowners to inefficiencies in their own homes. Water board employees will be able to collect readings by driving through neighborhoods instead of going door to door, Drof said.

“Most of these meters haven’t been replaced since the 1990s,” he said.

The project comes on the heels of a 1 percent rate increase and in the face of continuing fiscal challenges for the board such as rising pension and health care costs, constant infrastructure and plant improvement needs and the end of a 20-year deal with Occidental Chemical Corp. that brought the board $64.5 million over that time period.

Drof said that the money for the project is already available and the new meters will help the utility save money in the long run.

“The monies have already been allocated for this capital project,” he said.

Big Red Number $4.8M Cost of Niagara Falls Water Board project that will replace the old water meters with remote radio-read meters