Monday, October 17, 2016

Water Water Everywhere

Overall the State of Georgia has some serious water woes caused by uncontrolled growth and what appears to be a trend towards more frequent and longer periods of drought. One has to wonder when that becomes the new normal.

DeKalb County, in its own inimitable way, has self-inflicted water woes. This county is so well run that the folks in charge cannot line up enough capable friends and family to reliably and accurately take a number from a water meter and convert it into a dollar amount on a bill. They did attempt to automate their way around incompetence by installing electronic remotely readable meters. Apparently vendor selection was based more on relationships than technical assessments. While their inability to issue accurate bills makes a great platform for photo-op politicians to get some lense-time rate-payers are increasingly put out. And given that the politicos are working to their own best outcome the most a mere citizen can hope for is collateral benefits. Trickle down politics.

Or you could take matters into your own hands: install your own water meter between DeKalb's and your house. Then when you get one of these outrageously high water bills you'll have your own usage records to make your case. You may not win against a "we're here to help" government but you will get some face-time with the photo-op-ers.

An accurate potable water supply meter can be had for between $50 and $150. At the low end you will find BPA-free plastic meters with low-lead brass alloy breaking the hundred dollar barrier. Stick with mechanical readout to lower the price and eliminate one more thing that can and as DeKalb has proven, will fail. You should also check the flow and accuracy curves and select a meter meeting the AWWA standard. A removable inlet filter is a good option if you consider that a water works that cannot issue a valid bill probably cannot keep crap out of the water either. You will want to install it as close to DeKalb's as practical while installed in a separate water meter cover (~$25). All in this should set you back less than $400.

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? When you consider the high probability that DeKalb will send you an outrageously high and incorrect bill it will be well worth it to be able to contest that bill with your own readings from an AWWA compliant meter.