Middlebury improving water meter technology

MIDDLEBURY — The town of Middlebury is in the process of installing new, state-of-the-art meter reading technology at around 1,750 of the community’s 2,300 water system connections. It is equipment that will substantially reduce the effort it takes to gather information on municipal water use and the billing for that service.
The equipment in question is a “cellular endpoint” device that fits on top of the water meter. It interacts with a high-resolution encoder on top of the meter that allows for water use information to be transmitted wirelessly to town officials at a central location.
This new system will replace the current, outdated technology through which meter readings are gathered through a TRACE system. The current system requires water department officials to travel near the meter locations to gather readings through radio technology, Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner explained.
Middlebury’s newly installed cellular endpoints will transmit daily information to the town’s meter reading software. This will allow for a more seamless and cost-effective process for charting municipal water use and calculating charges for that service, officials said.
“The readings are stored in the cloud,” Werner said of the new technology.
And the meter conversions offer an added benefit to customers, according to Werner. Folks with cellular endpoint equipment will be able to monitor their own water use, through their home computer or cellphone. In order to do this, customers will need a software app called “Eye on Water” that will be accessible on-line, though it’s not available yet, according to public works officials. In additional to measuring water use, customers using Eye on Water will be able to detect leaks, and get warnings on freezing temperatures and excessive use.
As of Monday, water department officials had installed cellular endpoints at 618 of the 1,750 meter locations currently using the old TRACE technology, according to Werner.
And what about the remaining 550 water system connections that won’t be receiving endpoint connections? Those folks are being served by an Orion meter information transmitting technology that continues to serve the town well, according to Werner.
The town has sent blue flyers to affected water customers, urging them to make an appointment for their meter conversion. Customers who have received such a flyer and have yet to schedule an appointment are encouraged to do so by calling public works at 388-4045. The conversion process takes around 30 minutes, during which there is no need to shut off the water, according to Werner.
“We would like to have this completed by the summer,” Werner said.
Reporter John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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