The Town of Friday Harbor shares an update about their upcoming water meter modernization project.
In an effort to improve service for its water customers, the Town of Friday Harbor is replacing the current water meters with meters that have radio-read capabilities. These new meters will create a more efficient system, reducing the time employees spend in the field reading meters and instead allowing them more time for maintenance and to respond to emergencies such as water line breaks. The improvement project started this week and will take several months to complete.
We were able to test a few locations around Town starting in January 2021, and determined that this new system is a better option for the Town citizens.
Customers will be notified by the Town of a replacement in their neighborhood via door hangers or phone calls. Town employees do not need to enter residences to replace meters; the Water Crew will access the area where the meter is located. Water service is interrupted for approximately 10 to 15 minutes at each customer’s location during installation and testing. Going forward with this new system, the Water Crew will still require access to all meter boxes at any time pursuant to Friday Harbor Municipal Code. Please do not cover meter boxes or block them off from Water Crew access.
The new model is enabled with smart meter technology — the capability to use other remote devices to regularly transmit readings. These meters will start off by allowing drive-by readings collected by our Water Crew. The final goal for this technology is to allow for the wireless transmission of customers’ water meter readings directly to Town Hall via base stations located on existing water tanks and other structures. The meters can collect multiple reads per day as determined by a set schedule, allowing for better leak detection and improved customer service.
“The new system will help Town efficiently detect and minimize water loss,” said Town Administrator Denice Kulseth. “Smart meters also support our commitment to preserving and protecting our environment by enhancing our ability to detect and stop leaks quickly, reducing carbon emissions by eliminating the need to travel to read meters, and providing customers with up-to-date water usage data so they can improve their efforts to conserve.”
During future phases of the project, Town will provide a wide range of benefits for customers, including an online portal for viewing usage and other information, near real-time meter reading, and eventually the ability to automatically alert customers for leak detection or unusually high usage.
All new meters will begin working immediately, though online capabilities will not be functional until the Town is nearly complete with the project.