Selma Water Works replacing 8,300 outdated water meters

Published 8:47pm Thursday, July 10, 2014

Every Selma Water Works and Sewer Board customer is scheduled to receive new water meters, but the projects completion could still be weeks or months away.

Selma Water Works is in the midst of a project to replace about 8,300 outdated meters with newer, radio-operated meters.

The water board announced the start of installation in April and planned to finish the project by 2014’s end. Engineering consultant Ray Hogg estimated about 1,400 meters had been installed as of Thursday.

The water board divided the city up into zones before starting installation. Hogg said workers were still in zone one, which is west of Broad Street, south of J.L. Chestnut Boulevard and extends to the city’s western limits.

All three zones contain 2,300 to 2,500 customers and workers plan to complete each zone one at a time, Hogg said.

Water board chairman Robert Allen said the project encountered a few, minor problems and work is slightly behind. Though, overall Allen said the project is progressing well.

“As far as the installation is going, I think things are moving along well,” he said. “There have not been any major issues that have been brought to my attention.”

The meters being installed provide a significant technical advantage over the current method of measurement, Hogg said in a previous interview with the Times-Journal.

The radio-operated meters allow water board workers to take measurements without exiting a truck, Hogg said. The meters also trigger an alert if water runs continuously for an extended period, he said. The alert could potentially notify customers of a leak.

“For example, most people don’t usually use water at 3 a.m.,” Hogg said in a previous interview. “So if the water is running continuously for three days, even in the early morning, the water board will be able to tell that something is wrong.”

As meters are installed, customers may experience a brief interruption in service. Though, water board workers have been notifying customers before replacing the meters.

The project’s total cost was initially estimated to be $2.56 million, but bids came in $70,000 under budget. It also included repainted a water tower in Selfield Industrial Park.

The project will be paid for through a loan with the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Though, half of the loan will function like a grant, meaning the water board won’t have to pay back about $1.28 million.

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