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Water meter readings in Troy questioned

by Canda Harbaugh & Western News
| July 21, 2009 12:00 AM

When it came time for public comments at the Troy City Council meeting Wednesday, local resident Jerry Kensler stood up, unfolded a piece of paper from his shirt pocket and began discussing his household’s monthly water use.

“My wife washes about three loads of laundry a week,” he said, reading off estimations of how much water the couple used in May before he began watering the lawn.

Kensler could not see how bathing and washing dishes and clothing, and occasionally adding water to a pot of soup, could add up to 65,000 gallons in one month.

“What concerns me is that some day I will be charged for it,” he said.

Kensler echoed concerns of a number of customers who have had similar stories after receiving monthly water meter readings since February. The council assured Kensler that the flat water rate would stay in effect until all of the kinks of the new system are worked out.

“There are problems with it we’ve got to solve,” councilmember Don Banning said in an interview. “Just like anything that’s new, it’s got some bugs.”

The majority of residents who are receiving high water meter readings probably have a leaky service line – the customer-owned line from the meter to the house – Banning said.

“A lot of it is they have leaks in their service lines that have never been repaired,” Banning said. The meters are “one way of finding out.”

Kensler’s line showed up negative for leaks, so it is most likely a problem with his meter, Banning said.

“We will have to investigate and find out,” Banning said. “There’s something wrong and we’ll get to the bottom of it. It might not be for a while, but it will be before they’re billed for the use.”

If residents are concerned with the amount of water that is showing up on their water bill, the council advises that they contact the city so their line can be tested.

The city began installing water meters in 2007 as a requirement to receive federal grants to replace its aging water system.