ELMHURST – Elmhurst will soon be installing new water meters and an online leak detection system to reduce the amount of unaccounted-for water in the city’s potable water network.
City Council unanimously approved a report out of the Public Works and Buildings Committee that includes contracts with five vendors for a total of approximately $8 million, plus an additional $200,000 in contingency funds for unanticipated costs.
The project aims to reduce the amount of unaccounted for water within the city’s system from 18 to 10 percent by September 2019, in order to comply with the maximum limit set by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, which manages the Lake Michigan Allocation.
“One major contributor for unaccounted for water is our water meters, which are provided by the city,” Alderman Marti Deuter said. “More than 60 percent of the meters were installed more than 25 years ago, and recent testing indicates that our meters fail to account for five percent of the water that passes through them.”
“More than 60 percent of the meters were installed more than 25 years ago, and recent testing indicates that our meters fail to account for five percent of the water that passes through them.”
The new ultrasonic water meters will have the ability to more accurately record at lower flows than the current potable water meters, allowing the city to account for the missing five percent, or approximately 200,000 gallons per day. This will increase yearly revenues by about $500,000, according to the report.
“Another major contributor of unaccounted for water is leaks in our delivery system,” Deuter said. “Many leaks go undetected for a long periods of time until they eventually surface.”
Unlike the unaccounted for water that the new meters will recover, which is water that residents and business owners are using but the city is not recording, unaccounted for water due to leaks goes to waste. By installing an online leak detection system, the city can find and fix leaks before they worsen and surface, reducing unaccounted for water by an estimated three percent, or about 111,000 gallons per day.
An automated metering infrastructure, also known as a fixed base network, has multiple functions that allow city staff to monitor and manage the water system with more accuracy and less effort. Some of the benefits include proactive resolution of leaks, real-time notification of tampering, more accurate water bills, management of large-scale water loss, on-demand reads and two-way communication with endpoints. According to the report, the city could lower yearly operating costs by about $125,000 with the potable water infrastructure updates.
The updates will also include a customer portal where residents can manage their consumption and billing, receive notifications of possible leaks and generate reports as needed.
According to Deuter, this project has been anticipated for the past four years. Some of the funds for the project were allocated for the 2017 fiscal year, and the rest will be budgeted for next year, according to the approved report. The following contracts were approved:
• Siemens Industry – $4,244,594
• Neptune Meters – $2,336,978
• Master Meters – $286,074
• Aclara – $1,117,602
• Water Smart – $32,250
If the resolution is approved by Aug. 7, the city expects the project to be completed by June of 2018.