Thursday, June 24, 2021

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Williams to replace residential, commercial water meters

The Williams City Council’s patience in waiting for a state grant to improve their water infrastructure seems to have paid off. 

The city has been awarded $4.8 million to fund water supply improvements and replace water meters on residential property. 

The total cost of the planned project, expected to get underway in March, is about $5.3 million. The city has been seeking the funding for the project since 2016. 

“This is a long time coming, and I mean a really long time coming,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy. 

The City Council in January awarded the water supply improvement project, which includes rehabilitation of one of the city’s water wells, to RTA Construction. The new filtration system to Well No. 8 will improve both the water quality and the flow of water, officials said. 

“That is our No. 1 workhorse,” said Councilman Sajit Singh. “The city is reliant on that well.” 

At the same meeting, the council awarded the meter replacement project to Whitehawk Construction. 

“It’s all very exciting,” Kennedy said. 

Once the new meters go in and the automated system is up and running, Kennedy said the city will have a live look at every meter any given time, and will know what is going on in the city. 

“If there is a leak, we will know it,” Kennedy said. 

The city has wanted to replace aging water meters for some time because older meters typically result in the city losing revenue, officials said.  

“New water meters read true,” Kennedy added. “So, everybody’s water bill may go up a little bit. There is really no way around that. New water meters read true, and in some cases will read true for the first time in 20 plus years. And that’s just the way it is.”

Because the state grant will only cover residential water meters, the city will install commercial meters using about $288,000 from impact fees. 

“We will probably make that back with accurate meter reads over the next few years on commercial properties,” Kenndy said. 

Because the grant award is based on estimated costs from 2016, the Williams City Council has asked the state for additional money to cover the rate of inflation. 

The city should know if they receive the additional money in the next month or so. Pace Engineering is overseeing the project, which could be completed by May, officials said.

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