St. Clair Shores has started program to replace water meters throughout the city.
The program started this past week in the south end of the city. It will be a three-year effort to replace the "inefficient" water meters that are reaching the end of the their life-spans and not properly measuring usage.
"It comes down to the water meters," said Bryan Babcock, supervisor of the Department of Public Works. "They are at the end of their lives and have to be changed."
City officials report the program will cost $3,159,452 and will use existing available $1,831,000 working capital plus a $5 per quarter capital improvement fee on all 25,367 water meter accounts.
The existing meters, which are estimated to be as much 92 percent accurate on measuring usage, will be replaced with radio reading transmitters by a team of four installers hired for the program. These employees will be driving service vans with the city emblem and will be wearing uniforms with embroidered logos with city identification tags.
Prior to doing work in a neighborhood, the city will send out brochures explaining the program and requesting residents to schedule an appointment. The installers will also leave door tags on homes when they are working in the neighborhoods.
"We want to be proactive and schedule an appointment that is convenient for the homeowner," Babcock said.
The new meters transmit water usage readings once per day for 1-2 seconds to the city on an FCC-licensed frequency. Residents can opt of having the new radio meters installed, and have a optional "hockey puck" style meters for a $10 per quarter charge.
Installations will be done between 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and a dedicated city employee will be available at (586) 447-3305 to answer any questions residents may have about the installers or the program.
"We will always have someone available to answer the phone," Babcock said.