Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

October 2, 2013

What’s that on the stop signs? New water monitoring system comes to Greensburg

By Amanda Browning
Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG – Many Greensburg residents have noticed strange poles added to the top of local stop signs around town and wondered what the strange new contraptions could be.

The answer? It’s not alien technology or a way for the government to spy on Greensburgians. In fact, the devices added to the stop signs are part of the first phase of a project Greensburg Municipal Water and Wastewater (GMWW) has been working on since 2002.

For 11 years, the utility company has been saving money to implement this program in Greensburg without passing along the cost to its customers. Once the infrastructure is completely installed, the system will monitor water usage hourly and read meters automatically.

The objects attached to the stop signs are called repeaters and will receive transmissions from the new soon-to-be-installed water meters that will monitor water usage. The signals are then sent from the repeaters to one of four collector units around town that will send the information to a monitoring company called Mueller Systems. The new system will locate problems much more quickly and will allow customers to view detailed reports of their water consumption, according to Utilities Office Manager Donna Lecher.

Last month, along with their bills, GMWW customers received a notice about the possibility of meter technicians installing new water meters in the near future. The meters will be located in meter pits in the yard and not inside or on the house itself. The meter will take a reading of the amount of water used every fifteen minutes to make sure there are no problems. Currently, one might not know about a leak for up to a month after it happens. The new system would alert both the water company and the consumer within hours, conserving both water and wasted money.

Once per hour, the meter’s readings will be sent to the repeaters, which will then send the readings from the area to a collector and then to the monitoring company once a day. Various means will be available for consumers to be alerted of any problems. In addition to discovering leaks quickly, the detailed water usage information will allow consumers to budget their water use to conserve the valuable resource and perhaps reduce their monthly bills.

After the new system goes into effect, meters will no longer be read in person by a meter technician since the meter will transmit all information automatically. However, GMWW isn’t losing any jobs. Employees who currently work as meter readers will be transferred to other jobs within the company. All the installation for the new meters will be completed by local workforce rather than contracting elsewhere for the work.

GMWW customers will be able to set up user accounts to monitor the equipment and water usage through the company’s website. More information about the new meters and usage monitoring system will soon be available on the quick links section of the Greensburg Municipal Water and Wastewater website as well. Any questions or comments about the planned changes may be directed to GMWW Utilities Office Manager Donna Lecher at 812-663-5621. If anyone sees someone tampering with the repeaters, please contact Donna Lecher at the GMWW office.

“We are more than excited to develop a meter reading system that will provide our consumers the tools to monitor their daily water consumption, compare current water consumption to previous periods and to configure individual alerts, as well as set budgets for water conservation goals,” said Lecher.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004