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New Blackduck water meters are in

The old water meter on the left is about 50 years old while the one on the right is about 30 years old. The meter in the middle is one of the new ones.1 / 2
The new hand held Sensus auto readers will make life easier for residents and city workers alike.2 / 2

It's hard to believe anything can last 50 years, least of all something as insignificant as a water meter but they do. Or at least, some did. Parts tend to wear out over time and they don't work as well as they did when they were first put in. But that's all a thing of the past.

For more than a month, the old water meters in the city of Blackduck have been replaced with new, improved models that will make things easier.

Most of the meters being replaced weren't accurately measuring water consumption, therefore costing the city thousands of dollars each year.

"The average family uses about 4,000 gallons of water per month," said City Maintenance Supervisor Bob Klug, Jr. "But these old meters were only ready about 80 percent. That means it was only reading 3,200 gallons of water per month. They were not as accurate as they used to be."

Over the course of a year, some meters were costing an average of $60.57 in lost revenues for water and about $37.92 in lost sewer revenues.

This wasn't the case for all the old meters, Klug said. "Some might be accurate and some might not be. Not all of the older meters were tested."

"The larger meters are more inaccurate when there is less water flow," Klug explained. "The higher flow of water going through them, the more accurate they are."

Along with these new meters, comes modern technology that will save time. How? The new meters will now be read from a hand held auto read device from Sensus, makers of the new meters.

According to Klug, all the meter numbers are entered into the auto reader and city workers just drive down the street, point the reader at the house, it electronically reads the new meter and accurately records the amount of water used.

As with anything new, there will be changes. Some of which will come with the new water bill, beginning March 1.

Some customers will see an increase in their water bills due to the old meters being less than accurate but not everyone will.

"And we need to understand that water/sewer utilities are not subsidized with any other funding source other than the user fees, therefore it is necessary to be accurate with customer consumption in order to generate the revenue to operate the water/sewer utilities," said Blackduck City Administrator Karin Elhard. "The new meters, and meter reading system, are a fair and equitable solution for the city of Blackduck and its customer base in securing the future of this major municipal infrastructure."