Water Meter Replacement Program
The Village of Oswego is conducting a mandatory Water Meter Replacement Program at no cost to residents. Water meters and associated meter interface units (MIUs) will be replaced in all residential homes and businesses throughout the village. This project is needed because more than half of Village's water meters are more than 20 years old and have exceeded their life expectancy.
The updated meter reading system will also allow the Village to obtain readings using radio frequency technology instead of the current walk-by read method. The new meters will be read automatically and will increase efficiency, improve water accountability and provide increased information to consumers regarding their usage.
As part of the mandatory program, water meters and meter reading equipment located on properties will require replacement. Approximately 11,500 water meters and MIU's will be replaced over four years for a total project cost of $5.6 million.
The village has contracted with Water Services Company, to install the new water metering equipment. Installation will require access to residential and commercial properties. The Village of Lombard Illinois also has been completing a meter change out program. Residents can view this short video on the program and what to expect from the Village of Lombard, which recently completed the same program.
To see if your property will get a new meter this year, view this 2018-2019 Meter Replacement Map. The first-year replacement addresses have been plotted and the meters selected for the first year include homes built before 1986, old meters with no radio unit installed and meters that are currently not sending a radio signal or cannot be read by the current collectors. The following three years will be uploaded as the areas are identified.
Update: The first residents who will have their meter replaced have recieved an appointment letter. This letter may have caused confusion relating to the potential charge for the replacement of water shut-off valves. There is absolutely no charge to residents to have their meter replaced. If, during your water meter replacement appointment, you have a faulty water shut-off valve, which can often occur in older homes, you may elect to have the technician replace it for you at a cost pre-negotated by the Village. (See below for details.) This replacement is not required.
Water Meter Replacement Program FAQ
How will I be contacted?
The Village's contractor, Water Services Company, will mail letters to residents with instructions for scheduling an appointment.
How do I schedule an appointment?
Appointments will only be scheduled for those residents who have received letters. Appointments can be scheduled online at www.watermeterexchange.com or by calling (800) 355-7299. A PIN will be assigned to you when you receive your installation letter.
Will there be a cost for the meter replacement?
No. There is no cost to the residents for the meter replacement except if there are problems with the private plumbing system that need to be corrected in order to install the new meter.
What if my water shut-off valve does not work inside my home?
The installer may need to shut the water off outside your home or business at the curb stop to complete the work. At the owner or resident’s discretion, you may request the installer to replace a non-functioning water valve. The Village has negotiated with our installation contractor a fixed cost of $205.00 per 5/8” or 3/4” valve installed and $220.00 per 1” valve installed. The cost is solely the responsibility of the property owner and payment will be between the contractor and the property owner. The Village will not be responsible for collecting payment of said work. The resident or property owner will pay the Water Service Company installer onsite at the time of the installation. They can accept cash, credit cards, or checks and will provide a receipt at time of payment.
Example: A resident would like the 1” valve before and after the meter replaced because they cannot get the water turned off from inside the home. The total cost to pay the Water Service installer onsite at the time of the installation would be $440.00. This price includes both the cost of materials and labor for 2 replacement 1” valves.
Will I pay more for water because of the new water meter?
The old water meters are being replaced due to an under registration of water flow through the meter. As water meters age, the internal parts wear causing the accuracy to drop, causing your water usage to appear less than it really is. The new water meters will allow consumers to more actively monitor and control their water usage on a regular basis. Once the new water meter is installed, your water bill may increase due to the precise measurement of water usage being reported.
How does the meter reading system work?
Each water meter will be connected with a Meter Interface Unit (MIU) or radio transmitter mounted on the outside of your home. The MIU communicates to data collector units located throughout the Village and then the reading is sent back to our main office. Each meter has a unique identification number that ensures that only your reading is being assigned to your account.
Who will be installing the upgrade?
The Village of Oswego has contracted with Water Services Company. All installers will have a Village of Oswego-issued photo identification card, be professionally dressed, and travel in marked vehicles. If you have any concerns with the installer or question the validity of their credentials, contact Public Works at (630) 554-3242.
Do I have to be home for the upgrade work?
Yes, since the water meters are located inside your home or building, someone over the age of 18 needs to be present during the installation.
Where is my meter located?
Most water meters are located in the basement or crawl space where the water service pipe enters the building. The meter will be two to three feet above the ground usually by the wall closest to the street.
What if I can’t find my meter?
If you have a finished basement, the water meter may be behind a wall. If the meter is behind a finished wall, it is the responsibility of the property owner or tenant to provide access to the water meter for the replacement. The water meter installers will not cut into walls to expose the water meter. If the water meter is not accessible at the time of the appointment, you will be required to reschedule your appointment after access has been made.
What if I am a renter and do not own the property?
If you are a tenant, you will be asked to provide access to the water meter for the installation. A copy of the water meter installation notice will be sent to the property owner as well.
What should I do to prepare for the installation?
Know where your water meter is located. Make sure the area around the water meter is clear to allow room for the installers to work with at least a four-foot (4’) radius. Make sure your water meter is accessible; if the meter is buried behind a finished wall, provide an access point before your scheduled appointment. Secure your pets to protect both your pet and the installer.
What should I expect during my water meter replacement appointment?
The water meter installer will arrive at your home at the scheduled appointment time and provide proper identification. The installer will locate your water meter and main water shut-off valve. The water will be shut off and the old meter removed. The new meter will be installed in the same location and a new wire may need to be run to the MIU located on the outside of your home/business. The water will be turned back on and be checked for leaks and proper flow and pressure. You will be asked to verify the final read of the old meter, that there are no leaks and proper flow, and then asked to sign to approve the installation.
How long will the installation upgrade take?
Typically the installation will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes and the water will be turned off for about 5-10 minutes until the meter is changed. You may experience some trapped air or slight discoloration in the water supply due to the draining of the water lines during the meter replacement. This is normal and will clear after running your water for a few minutes.
What about lead in drinking water?
When your water meter is replaced, your property’s plumbing system may be disturbed and may affect the lead content of your potable water supply. Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is harmful to human health. The most common exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips and dust. However, lead in drinking water can also be a source of lead exposure. In the past, lead was used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. Lead in water usually occurs through corrosion of plumbing products containing lead; however, disruption (construction or maintenance) of lead service lines may also temporarily increase lead levels in the water supply. This disruption may be sometimes caused by water main maintenance/replacement. As of January 14, 2014, new or replaced household plumbing materials shall not contain more than 0.25% lead. Plumbing materials must now be certified as "lead-free" to be used (weighted average of wetted surface cannot be more than 0.25% lead. For more information about lead in water service lines, visit the U.S. EPA's website or download the Village of Oswego's Lead Brochure.
What can I do to reduce lead exposure in drinking water after my water meter is replaced?
Run your water to flush the service line. If the plumbing in your home is accessible; you may be able to inspect your own plumbing to determine whether or not you have a lead service line. Otherwise, you will most likely have to hire a plumber.
- If you do not have a lead service line, running the water for 1 – 2 minutes at the kitchen tap should bring fresh water through your household plumbing to the kitchen tap.
- If you do have a lead service line, flushing times can vary based on the length of your lead service line and the plumbing configuration in your home. The length of lead service lines varies considerably. Flushing for at least 3 – 5 minutes is recommended. Use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula. Once you have done this, fill a container with water and store it in the refrigerator for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula throughout the day.
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter that is certified to remove "total lead."
- Clean and remove any debris from faucet aerators on a regular basis.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Purchase lead-free faucets and plumbing components. Remove the entire lead service line.
- Test your water for lead. Call the Village of Oswego Public Works Department at (630) 554-3242 to find out how to get your water tested for lead. The Village does sample for lead every three years and the results are available on the annual water quality report. The Village does not do the testing for individual residences; however, we can provide a list of laboratories certified to do the testing. The laboratories will send you the sample bottles and instructions, the Village can answer any questions you have about the testing process. The cost of the sample is the resident’s responsibility.
- If test results indicate a lead level above 15 ug/L, bottled water should be used by pregnant women, breast-feeding women, young children and formula-fed infants.
What if there is a leak at the meter or any other problem after my meter has been replaced?
The installer will not leave if there is a leak present when the meter installation is complete. If a leak or other issue arises after the installer leaves, call Public Works between the hours of 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at (630) 554-3242 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need assistance after hours call Water Services Company at (800) 355-7299.
Is there any maintenance required by the property owner or tenant for the new water meter?
No. The new water meters do not require any maintenance by the property owner or tenant. However, be mindful of the wire connecting the meter to the MIU. If this wire is damaged or removed, the water readings will not be able to be collected and the Village will need to revisit the meter to repair or reconnect the wire.
Do not allow the temperature in your basement/crawl space to fall below levels that would freeze the meter or your plumbing during winter months. If the meter is located on an outside wall, be sure to insulate the space between the meter and the wall to prevent freezing. If the meter is damaged due to neglect or freezing, the replacement costs will be at the property owner or tenant’s expense.
How will the data from my meter be used?
The Village uses the data from the meter to generate water and sewer bills as well as proper accounting of water consumption. This information is important in the preparation of reports to state regulatory agencies.
Will the radio interfere with my television, cordless phone, or other electronic devices?
No, the radio transmissions occur on a frequency very different from those used by television signals, cordless phones and other electronic devices. There are no risks or hazards from the equipment.
Can we use the meter to monitor our own usage electronically?
This is not an option at this time.
Will the water meter be hooked up to my home's power?
No. The water meter does not require any power and the MIU is battery operated. Batteries are estimated to last 15-20 years.
Where will the radio transmitter (MIU) be located?
The MIU will be located on the outside of your home typically where the current touch pad or current radio is located. If your home currently does not have a reading device on the exterior of the home the installer will locate the new radio in the most appropriate location.
Will my billing cycle change?
No, your billing cycle will not be affected by the Water Meter Replacement Program.
Will I be able to read my own meter?
You can read your own meter by shining a flashlight at the LCD panel. The display will toggle between meter reading (9 digits) and current flow rate (3 digits). The flow rate is the average rate of flow in the last 30 seconds. This will allow homeowners to monitor water usage and proactively manage leaks and water usage.
The display will show a faucet icon when it detects a leak; a flashing faucet indicates an intermittent leak such as a leaky toilet flapper valve; a faucet icon that is displayed constantly represents a continuous leak such as a hose left on outside. In addition, the LCD panel displays a flow indicator arrow which confirms if meter is currently in use. This would also indicate if there is low flow water usage or reverse flow through the meter.
How will this project be funded?
Funding for the Water Meter Replacement Program for the Village of Oswego is included in the water rates charged to system users. This project includes replacing the residential water meters and the integration into the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) which will decrease non-revenue water, increase water consumption accountability, improve water meter reading efficiencies, and provide real time information to residents regarding their water use.