Article

Water Meter Replacement Program

The Village of Wonder Lake is pleased to announce the implementation of the Water Meter Replacement Program, which will take place over the next several months. The Water Meter Replacement Program for the Village of Wonder Lake was financed by the Drinking Water Loan Program through the State Revolving Fund (SRF) and there is no cost to the homeowner. The SRF program is administered by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and receives a portion of its money to fund these types of projects from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. SRF programs operate in each state to provide communities the resources necessary to build, maintain, and improve the infrastructure that protects one of our most valuable resources: water.

The purpose of the Water Meter Replacement Program is to install a mobile network radio frequency automatic meter reading (AMR) system and replace the majority of the water meters within the Village. The existing water meters utilize moving internal parts to measure water consumption. As water meters age the parts wear out requiring replacement. The majority of existing water meters are over 20 years old and have reached the end of their expected life.

In order to improve customer service and efficiency, the Village will be replacing existing meters and installing a new AMR system. The new meters have no moving parts and have an expected 20-year batiery life. With the new system, water meter readings will be automatically transmitted to the Village thus eliminating the need to manually read each meter.

The Village has contracted with United Meters, Inc. of Morris, IL to supply and install the new automated water meter reading system and water meters throughout the Village. United Meters, Inc. is a licensed, bonded, and insured plumbing contractor and will complete the installation of the new meters and the corresponding communication device located on the outside of the property.

Installation Process

In order to complete the Water Meter Replacement Program as quickly as possible, United Meters, Inc. will be contacting residents through direct mailings to schedule meter replacements. Please note someone 18 years or older must be present during the installation. Also, please be sure that your water meter is accessible for the installer. Please call the Wonder Lake Water Department at 866-371-5699 if you have any questions. All United Meters, Inc. employees have passed a background check and will carry a photo identification card. Please do not admit anyone into your home or business without proper identification. If you are unsure about any suspicious activity, please do not hesitate to contact the Police Department at (815) 728-0535.

WATER METER REPLACEMENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

1. Why is the Village of Wonder Lake installing and upgrading its water meters? The Village of Wonder Lake was mandated by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to bill customers based on consumption rates. To comply with this mandate, the Village has contracted with United Meters, Inc. of Morris, Ill. to install the water meters in town.

When the Village purchased the existing water systems it was determined that the existing meters were old and worn and not dependable of providing accurate usage data. The Village of Wonder Lake will replace about 1,700 existing water meters in town with Sensus iPERL water meters. These new iPERL meters will allow the Village to install a mobile Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system that will provide better customer service and greater access to data.

These new meters will automatically transmit readings wirelessly, meaning the Village can be more efficient and reduce water system costs by preventing manual device recording errors and eliminating time-consuming manual meter reading altogether.

2. How does a mobile Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system work? A small box, called a Meter Interface Unit (MIU), or transmitter, is installed on the exterior of your house or business near your water meter. It is connected to your new water meter inside your home and transmits a radio signal to a data collector. A mobile or “drive-by” meter reading device is installed in a vehicle. The meter reader drives the vehicle while the reading device automatically collects the meter readings. With mobile meter reading, the reader does not normally have to read the meters in any route order, but just drives the service area until all meters are read. Your collected meter reading is then provided to the Wonder Lake Billing Department for processing. Each meter has a unique identification number that ensures only your reading is assigned to your account. This system reduces the need for manual meter readings, potentially catches leaks sooner and is more accurate than the current meter in your home or business.

3. Are there other benefits to Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system? Yes. The Village and residents will receive the following benefits:
• State of the art technology
• New meters have no moving parts and therefore are not susceptible to mechanical “spinning”
• Improved customer service through near real-time system monitoring
• Less intrusion onto private property
• Reverse water flow warnings
• Damaged meter alerts
• High or unusual consumption alerts, prevents water theft or identifies a large leak in the home/yard
• Meters meet new low-lead requirements
• Reduced risk of injuries to Village employees and contractors in performing meter reading/maintenance activities
• Allows for water conservation monitoring

4. Who will be replacing the water meters? The Village has contracted with United Meters, Inc. of Morris, Ill. to install the water meters in town. More information will be mailed to you directly via letter on how to schedule an appointment when the project moves into your area of the Village. For more information on United Meters, Inc., please visit www.unitedmeters.com.

5. How much will the water meter replacements cost? Installation of the new meters will be conducted at no cost to customers. The AMR system is designed to help control costs by increasing meter reading accuracy and efficiency.

6. Will it affect my rates? Will my water bill increase? While there are other matters that may impact the Village’s utility rates, such as the annual water rate increases, the new meters alone will not result in a rate increase. You will be billed for the actual water used, so your bill could increase if you use more than the typical amount (8,000 gallons per month) used by a single-family home. The new metering system ensures fairness and equality for all customers by measuring and billing residents and businesses accurately.

7. When will the water meter replacements begin, and how long will they take? United Meters, Inc. will begin installing new water meters soon. The project is expected to last no more than 12 months.

8. Will all meters be replaced? No. The Village has been issuing new meters for the past 10 years using Sensus models for most residential applications. If you already have one of these model meters the meter will not be replaced. However, a new radio device will be installed over the existing touch pad on the outside of the house as part of the AMR metering enhancements. The technicians installing the radio equipment may not require access inside the home.

9. Where is my water meter located? Water meters are typically located in basements, crawl spaces or utility closets that include your furnace or water heater.

10. What if my water meter isn’t accessible? If your meter is inaccessible, the installer will leave you instructions on how to make modifications so the change-out can occur and provide information on how to set up another appointment.

11. Do you have to enter my home/business to replace my water meter? Yes. Due to freezing temperatures in the winter, most meters are installed within the home or business.

12. What if I live in an apartment/townhome/condo? If all units in your building are served by a single meter, the contractor will coordinate the meter change-out with either your association and/or your property manager. If your individual residence is served by a single meter, the contractor will be reaching out to you via letter to set up an appointment. If you have an individual meter, you receive a bill directly from the Village of Wonder Lake.

13. Do I have to have my water meter replaced? Yes. Meter replacement is mandatory for all Village of Wonder Lake water customers. Failure to accommodate a meter replacement within a reasonable period of time may result in account surcharges or termination of service.

14. What is involved with a typical installation? The Village has contracted with United Meters, Inc. to install your new water meter. More information will be mailed to you directly via letter on how to schedule an appointment when the project moves to your area of the Village.

United Meters, Inc. personnel will need access to meters in basements, utility rooms, behind locked fences, garages, etc. An adult (minimum of 18 years old) must be present while they work inside the premises. Please make sure that there are no obstructions around your meter that may hamper access to the meter.

Under normal circumstances, the installation will take approximately 30 minutes. Momentary water service interruptions will occur to change out the meter. United Meters, Inc. employees are required to provide proper identification when installing your meters.

15. What if my shut off valve won’t work? The contractor will temporarily freeze your water line and install a new shut-off valve. You will be charged $100.00 for the replacement.

16. Why was the Sensus iPERL meter chosen? The Village selected the iPERL due to its strong performance record, greater access to data, overall service, as well as the experience of the manufacturer, cost savings it provides to the Village, and its 20-year warranty, which is much greater than the meters they will replace.

Sensus iPERL water meters are already installed in Wonder Lake homes and have been for more than two years. The Village has seen no major issues in the operation of the Sensus iPERL meters since their introduction. In fact, more than 3 million iPERL meters have been in service since 2010 in other municipalities in the Chicago area and across the country.

17. Is the Sensus iPERL water meter safe? Yes. The power and duration of the radio signal is too low to pose a health risk. The products that make up the system are evaluated for safety and are below levels specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

18. Will the transmitter radio signal interfere with other electronics? No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with FCC regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices. The transmitter is located outside of your home or business to reduce radio frequencies inside the structure and provide the best signal to the radio tower.

19. Will the Village be able to turn off my water remotely with the Sensus iPERL water meter? No. The Sensus iPERL water meter is not equipped with that functionality. If you experience a loss of water pressure after the meter has been installed, call the Village water company at 866-371-5699.

20. Will my information be secure? Yes. Only meter consumption data and meter numbers are transmitted. Personal customer information is not loaded into the transmitter and therefore will not be transmitted.

21. Will the Village be monitoring my water consumption? No. The Village does not actively monitor water consumption by individual users. The system is designed to provide the Village an alert if your meter registers extraordinary consumption, allowing us to notify the customer of a possible meter or system problem.

22. How is the data from my meter used? The Village will use the data from the meter to generate water and sewer bills. The consumption data is also used in aggregate to understand peak usage factors that may affect the volume of water needed in the system at any given time.

23. How do I know my meter is accurate? All meters are tested and calibrated by Sensus at the factory before shipping. Meters are compliant with the American National Standards Institute and the American Water Works Association standards. All meters come with a 20-year material and accuracy warranty.

Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared to your account record to ensure a match. In addition, the meter reading system has a 35-day logging capability for accuracy reconciliation/troubleshooting.

24. What if I have questions or concerns? For additional information about the water meter project, call the Village water company at 866-371-5699.

before water meter replacement

during water meter replacement

after water meter replacement