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Urbanna to replace aging water meters

by Tom Chillemi

For decades, the Urbanna Town Council has talked about upgrading the town’s water system. That day has arrived.

Tougher state regulations will require the town to account for every gallon of water that goes through its system, interim town administrator Holly Gailey told the town council at its September 16 meeting. The new regulations go into effect in January 2014.

Eventually, all water meters will need to be replaced, said Gailey. Of nine water meters tested, two were not registering water flow, she said. Those two meters were about 50 years old.

The town is losing track of “an enormous amount” of water due to aging meters, said Gailey. She added that a large piece of sediment in the water can stop a meter impeller from turning.

Some of the tested water meters did not register at low-water flow rates, while five of them were accurate, even at low flows.

The average meter is replaced about every 10 years, said Gailey. However, the town’s water meters average 25 years of age, and some have not been manufactured for 15 years, she added.

The town has undergone a recent water assessment study. Among the findings is that water pressure on Obert Street is less than 20 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is less than one-third of the water pressure on Rappahannock Avenue (60 PSI). Water PSI on Kent Street is 60 PSI.

Water leak detection testing will be done to get an idea of how much water is flowing through pipes, said Gailey.

Mayor Don Richwine commented that budget surpluses, if any, could be used to fund the town’s capital improvement plan (CIP), which includes water system improvements.

Preliminary figures indicate the town water budget had a surplus for fiscal year 2012-13 that ended on June 30, said council member Joe Heyman at a previous meeting.

As part of the study, most water meters, shut off valves and fire hydrants were mapped using GPS.

The U.S. Geologic Survey is testing the quality of the town’s water as it is drawn from the aquifer, before treatment. The test is being done at no cost to the town. 

posted 09.25.2013

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