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All new water meters in EM would cost nearly $50,000

By LeAnn R. Ralph

ELK MOUND —  Buying enough new water meters to replace all of the old meters in Elk Mound would cost nearly $50,000.

Even though the meters were an agenda item for the January 7 meeting, Mark Levra, director of public works, recommended that the Elk Mound Village Board postpone taking any action on water meters until the next village board meeting in two weeks.

Levra said he was waiting for additional information that he could present to the village board.

Village President Andy Peterson asked about the differences between the existing water meters and new meters that are available.

Elk Mound only has 12 new wireless meters installed right now, and the village needs a total of 289 new meters, Levra said.

New water meters cost about $180, so replacing all of the old meters with new meters would cost approximately $46,000, he said.

Levra said that he is currently gathering information about other possible options for water meters and that he planned to work on developing a change-out program.

Several village board members said they thought the village had already developed a change out program and had planned to buy new water meters.

To buy all the new water meters at once, the village would have had to borrow money and pay it back over a ten-year or twenty-year period, said Pat Hahn, village clerk-treasurer.

Tom Gilbert, village trustee, wondered about replacing the old meters with refurbished water meters.

The state Department of Natural Resources does not allow any lead in water meters, Levra said.

If, for example, he pulled the water meter at Gilbert’s house to test it, and it failed, there would be nothing to replace the meter, Levra said.

According to DNR regulations, it would be all right to take a water meter containing lead out of Gilbert’s house and put the same meter back in Gilbert’s house, but village employees cannot put a different used meter in Gilbert’s house. If the old meter fails, it must be replaced with a new meter, Levra said.

Peterson suggested that Levra work on a water meter replacement plan that would replace a certain number of meters per year and would also allow for a certain number of meters to be stored in case a new meter is needed.

Levra said he would like to have five new meters in storage.

If the village replaced 60 water meters per year, it would take about five years to replace all of the water meters in Elk Mound, he noted.

Based on the per-unit price of $180, buying 60 meters per year would cost about $11,000.

Levra said he is currently gathering information to compare costs for meters that are read manually as opposed to wireless meters.

Many water meter issues are solved with wireless meters, such eliminating the possibility that dogs can chew off the wires, Hahn noted.

Levra said he planned to have additional information about replacement water meters for the next village board meeting on January 21.

Other business

In other business, the Elk Mound Village Board:

• Learned from Mike Tietz, assistant police chief, that some of the materials had arrived for the security system in the library and that the total cost would be between $750 and $900, depending upon on how much cable is needed.

• Learned from Levra that repairs to public works truck No. 1 are finished at a total cost of $8,373. The village board approved a not-exceed-cost of a little over $8,700.