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County Working on Automated Water Meter Installation

by Katie Pyzyk June 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm 4,829 9 Comments

You may not have even realized it, but your water meter will get a makeover soon, if it hasn’t already. The county is about half finished with its efforts to install new automated meter reading (AMR) systems on residential buildings.

The new meters allow employees to easily gather water use information without physically having to access meter boxes. They are equipped with a radio transmitter than sends each meter reading to an employee who slowly drives through the neighborhoods.

“The meters tend to lose accuracy as they age, so one of the benefits is the increased accuracy of the reading,” said county engineer Mary Strawn.

AMR will reduce errors now that employees will not have to manually enter meter numbers. It’s also viewed as a safety measure, considering workers won’t have to scramble in some places with hard to reach meters.

Residents can expect to see fewer “estimated reads” on their bills, due to the efficiency of the new meters. Previously, if county workers were unable to find a meter due to factors like snow accumulation, they would estimate a customer’s monthly water use.

The county began installing AMR equipment on commercial and multi-family residences in 2007. Now, the project has moved on to the 30,000 single family residences. Workers are about halfway through that task, and hope to finish by early 2013.

Notifications are being sent out to residents before work on their meters begins. Installation only takes about five minutes, so most people probably won’t even notice that work has been done.

Sometimes, after the meter has been upgraded, residents may temporarily notice a burst of air or rust colored water. This is not harmful, and briefly running the cold water should clear this up.

  • looks like dude on the ground is mourning water meter inaccuracies. that’s what i’ll imagine he’s doing & refuse to believe otherwise.

  • redstang423

    That seems smart. Arlington is wasting taxpayer money implementing 10-15 year old technology that is already considered outdated when they could have implemented industry standard full two-way communicating smart meters for a modest extra cost with far greater benefits.

  • charles

    Arlington attempted to bill my sister for a new meter last year, when she had some water line work done. Arlington failed.

  • AshtonT

    Ever since ours was installed a few months ago I can hear a rhythmic tapping when the water is running. Anyone else have that same issue?

    • AshtonOaks

      Have the same issue with our new meter.

      • AshtonT

        glad it isn’t just me. I think i will call the county to see if they know why this is the case.

        • Elmer

          As DIY, you can take the cover off and turn the screw on the water meter clockwise while the water is running. Have someone in the house listen for the tapping sound and see if gets better or worse. If worse, turn the other way.

          Be forewarned, the county will tell you this is against the law “…tampering with a metering (utility) device…”. Va. Code Sec. 18.2-163 A.

    • Sen. Larry Craig

      Do not pay any attention to that tapping foot under the stall divider.

  • Arlington County Department of Environmental Services

    Thank you for bringing noise issues with your AMR to our attention. We ask that you please call (703) 228-6570 so that we can have it replaced.


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