Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 24, 2013

Falls Water Board's meter plan debated

Niagara Gazette — City residents may still be able to opt out of the Niagara Falls Water Board's new metering system.

Water board members said they will explore the cost of allowing people to stick with the old meters in response to concerns from city resident Joanne Gialloreto, who suggested the radio frequencies emitted by the new devices can cause illnesses like cancer and Parkinson's Disease, citing numerous studies and a letter from the non-profit American Academy of Environmental Medicine to the Federal Communications Commission.

"I ask the Niagara Falls Water Board for a free, no condition opt-out for me and for any other citizens against the wireless water meters in our homes because it is an intrusion on our lives,"Gialloreto said during Thursday's water board meeting.

Board members heard a presentation from David Johnson, a territory manager for Neptune Technology Group, the company from which the board is buying the new metering system.

The board decided to replace city meters, which were last updated in the late 1980s, in an effort to increase efficiency for meter readers. The new meters transmit radio signals that can be picked up by a device in the car with a meter reader and then transferred into databases.

Johnson said the meters, which will improve reading efficiency and allow homeowners to better monitor water use and leaks, use the same type of radio frequency technology as cell phones and microwaves.

"In everything that we do, in all aspects of our life, there's (radio frequency)," Johnson said. "Inside your house you have a radio, you have a garage door opener, you have a microwave."

Johnson said his company's devices are subject to the same scrutiny from government agencies as any other device manufacturer.

"The thing to keep in mind is the FCC has to approve and regulate all these devices and we also have to comply with all the health standards that are out there," Johnson said.

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