Water Meter Replacement Program
The Village of Lombard is currently conducting its mandatory Water Meter Replacement Program. Through the program outdated water meters (pictured at right) and associated meter interface units (MIUs) that were installed in the mid 1980's will be replaced in residential homes and businesses throughout the village. This project is needed because the majority of the Village's water meters are over 25 years old and have exceeded their life expectancy.
Due to under reporting, the Village has experienced years of unaccounted for water usage. The residential water meters that were recently tested, had an accuracy of 93.6%, which means that around 6.4% of Lombard's water usage was unaccounted for, totaling an estimated $440,000 annual loss in revenue for the Village.
The updated meter reading system will also allow the Village to obtain readings using radio frequency technology instead of the current walk-by read method. The new meters will be read automatically and will increase efficiency, improve water accountability and provide increased information to consumers regarding their usage.
As part of the mandatory program, water meters and meter reading equipment located on properties will require replacement. Approximately 10,500 water meters and 13,500 MIU's will be replaced over multiple years for a total project cost of $3.78 million.
The village has contracted with Water Resources, Inc., and its affiliated company, Water Services Company, to install the new water metering equipment. Installation will require access to residential and commercial properties.
A Water Meter Replacement Schedule map can be viewed below to see when you can expect to receive your notification to schedule your replacement appointment. The areas that are marked with hash marks have received their notification for scheduling. If you live in an area that is marked complete and you have not received your letter, you may not need to have your meter replaced or you may have missed your notification letter. You can contact Water Billing at (630) 620-5920 to verify if you need to have your meter replaced.
Water Meter Replacement Program FAQ
- How Will I Be Contacted?
The Village's contractor, Water Resources, will mail letters urging residents to call Water Resources to schedule an appointment.
- How Do I Schedule an Appointment?
Appointments will only be scheduled for those residents who have received letters. Appointments can be scheduled online at www.watermeterexchange.com or by calling (800) 642-2648.
- Will there be a cost for the meter replacement?
No. There is no cost to the residents for the meter replacement.
- What if my water shut off valve does not work inside my home?
The installer may need to shut the water off outside your home/business at the curb stop to complete the work. At the owner/resident’s discretion, they may request the installer to replace a non-functioning water valve. The Village has negotiated with our installation contractor a fixed cost of $237.50 per valve installed. The cost is solely the responsibility of the property owner and will be between the contractor and the property owner. The Village will not be responsible for collecting payment of said work. The resident/property owner will pay the Water Service installer onsite at the time of the installation. They can accept cash, credit cards, or checks and will provide a receipt at time of payment.
Example: A resident would like the valve before and after the meter replaced because they cannot get the water turned off from inside the home. The total cost to pay the Water Service installer onsite at the time of the installation would be $475.00. This price includes both the cost of materials and labor for 2 replacement valves.
- Will I pay more for water because of the new water meter?
The old water meters are being replaced due to an under reporting of water usage. Once a new and accurate water meter is installed, your water bill may increase due to accurate water usage reporting. As water meters age, the internal parts wear causing accuracy to drop realistically causing your water bill to lower. The new water meter system will allow consumers to more actively monitor and control their water usage on a regular basis controlling costs.
- How does the meter reading system work?
Each water meter will be connected with a Meter Interface Unit (MIU) or radio transmitter mounted on the outside of your home. The MIU communicates to data collector units located throughout the Village and then the reading is sent back to our main office. Each meter has a unique identification number that insures that only your reading is being assigned to your account.
- Who will be installing the upgrade?
The Village of Lombard has contracted with Water Services Company a sister company of Water Resources Inc., the local distributor and supplier of the water meters and infrastructure. All installers (pictured below) will have a Village of Lombard issued photo identification card, be professionally dressed, and travel in marked vehicles. If you have any concerns with the installer or question the validity of their credentials, please do not hesitate to contact Public Works at (630) 620-5740 to confirm.
- Do I have to be home for the upgrade work?
Yes, since the water meters are located inside your home or building, someone over the age of 18 needs to be present during the installation.
- Where is my meter located?
Most water meters are located in the basement or crawl space where the water service pipe enters the building. The meter will be two to three feet above the ground usually by the wall closest to the street.
- What if I can’t find my meter?
If you have a finished basement, the water meter may be behind a wall or in rare cases the water meter may be in a meter vault outside your home. If the meter is behind a finished wall, it is the responsibility of the property owner/tenant to provide access to the water meter for the replacement. The water meter installers will not cut into walls to expose the water meter. If the water meter is not accessible at the time of the appointment, you will be required to reschedule your appointment after access has been made.
- What if I am a renter and do not own the property?
If you are a tenant, you will be asked to provide access to the water meter for the installation. A copy of the water meter installation notice will be sent to the property owner as well.
- What should I do to prepare for the installation?
Know where your water meter is located. Make sure the area around the water meter is clear to allow room for the installers to work with at least a four foot (4’) radius. Make sure your water meter is accessible; if the meter is buried behind a finished wall provide an access point before your scheduled
- What should I expect during my water meter replacement appointment?
The water meter installer will arrive at your home at the scheduled appointment time and provide proper identification. The installer will locate your water meter and main water shut off valve. The water will be shut off and old meter removed. The new meter will be installed in the same location and a new wire may need to be run to the MIU located on the outside of your home/business. The water will be turned back on and be checked for leaks and proper flow and pressure. You will be asked to verify the final read of the old meter, that there are no leaks and proper flow, and then asked to sign to approve the installation.
- How long will the installation upgrade take?
Typically the installation will take approximately 30 – 45 minutes and the water will be turned off for about 5-10 minutes until the meter is changed. You may experience some trapped air or slight discoloration in the water supply due to the draining of the water lines during the meter replacement. This is normal and will clear after running your water for a few minutes.
- What about lead in drinking water?
When your water meter is replaced, your property’s plumbing system may be disturbed and may affect the lead content of your potable water supply. Lead, a metal found in natural deposits, is harmful to human health. The most common exposure to lead is swallowing or breathing in lead paint chips and dust. However, lead in drinking water can also be a source of lead exposure. In the past, lead was used in some water service lines and household plumbing materials. Lead in water usually occurs through corrosion of plumbing products containing lead; however, disruption (construction or maintenance) of lead service lines may also temporarily increase lead levels in the water supply. This disruption may be sometimes caused by water main maintenance/replacement. As of June 19, 1986, new or replaced water serviced lines and new household plumbing materials could not contain more than 8% lead. Lead content was further reduced on January 4, 2014, when plumbing materials must now be certified as "lead-free" to be used (weighted average of wetted surface cannot be more than 0.25% lead). View lead informational brochure.
- What can I do to reduce lead exposure in drinking water after my water meter is replaced?
Run your water to flush out lead. If the plumbing in your home is accessible; you may be able to inspect your own plumbing to determine whether or not you have a lead service line. Otherwise, you will most likely have to hire a plumber.
- If you do not have a lead service line, running the water for 1 – 2 minutes at the kitchen tap
should clear the lead from your household plumbing to the kitchen tap. Once you have done
this, fill a container with water and store it in the refrigerator for drinking, cooking, and
preparing baby formula throughout the day.
- If you do have a lead service line, flushing times can vary based on the length of your lead
service line and the plumbing configuration in your home. The length of lead service lines
varies considerably. Flushing for at least 3 – 5 minutes is recommended.
Use cold water for drinking, cooking, and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water
from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap
to make baby formula.
- Look for alternative sources or treatment of water. You may want to consider purchasing bottled water
or a water filter that is certified to remove "total lead".
- Clean and remove any debris from faucet aerators on a regular basis.
- Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
- Purchase lead-free faucets and plumbing components. Remove the entire lead service line.
- Test your water for lead. Call the Village of Lombard Public Works Department at: 630-620-5740 to
find out how to get your water tested for lead. The Village does not do the testing, however, we can
provide a list of laboratories certified to do the testing. The Laboratories will send you the sample bottles
and instructions, the Village can answer any questions you have about the testing process. The cost of the
sample is the residents responsibility.
- If test results indicate a lead level above 15 ug/L, bottled water should be used by pregnant
women, breast-feeding women, young children, and formula-fed infants.
- If you do not have a lead service line, running the water for 1 – 2 minutes at the kitchen tap
- What if there is a leak at the meter or any other problem after my meter has been replaced?
The installer will not leave if there is a leak present when the meter installation is complete. If a leak or other issue arises after the installer leaves, call Public Works at (630) 620-5740 or email at email@example.com.
- Is there any maintenance required by the property owner/tenant for the new water meter?
No. The new water meters do not require any maintenance by the property owner/tenant. However, be mindful of the wire connecting the meter to the MIU. If this wire is damaged or removed, the water readings will not be able to be collected and the Village will need to revisit the meter to repair or
reconnect the wire.
Do not allow the temperature in your basement/crawl space to fall below levels that would freeze the meter or your plumbing during winter months. If the meter is located on an outside wall, be sure to insulate the space between the meter and the wall to prevent freezing. If the meter is damaged due to
neglect or freezing, the replacement costs will be at the property owner/tenant’s expense.
- How will the data from my meter be used?
The Village uses the data from the meter to generate water and sewer bills as well as proper accounting of water consumption in comparison to water purchased from the DuPage Water Commission. This information is important in the preparation of reports to state regulatory agencies.
- Will the radio interfere with my television, cordless phone or other electronic devices?
No, the radio transmissions occur on a frequency very different from those used by television signals, cordless phones and other electronic devices. There are no risks or hazards from the equipment.
- Can we use the meter to monitor our own usage electronically?
We are currently looking at a customer service portal (access via smart phone or other smart devices) that would allow customers to monitor daily water use. The portal would let customers set usage alarms for high use, over budget use, or even use when out of town. This is NOT an option at this time. The alarms would be sent directly to your email or text number based on how customer sets up alarm notifications.
- Will the water meter be hooked up to my home's power?
No. The water meter does not require any power and MIU is battery operated. Batteries are estimated to last 15-20 years.
- Where will the radio transmitter (MIU) be located?
The MIU will be located on the outside of your home typically where the current touch pad is located.
- Will my billing cycle change?
Your meter installation notice will be coordinated with your current billing cycle to limit the possible change in your billing cycle. The Village will strive to keep consumers on the same cycles.
- Will I be able to read my own meter?
You can read your own meter by shining a flashlight at the LCD panel. The display will toggle between meter reading (9 digits) and current flow rate (3 digits). The flow rate is the average rate of flow in the last 30 seconds. This will allow homeowners to monitor water usage and proactively manage leaks and water usage.
The display will display a faucet icon when it detects a leak; a flashing faucet indicates an intermittent leak such as a leaky toilet flapper valve; a faucet icon that is displayed constantly is a continuous leak such as a hose left on outside. In addition the LCD panel displays a flow indicator arrow which confirms if meter is currently in use. This would also indicate if there is low flow water usage or reverse flow through the meter.
- How will this project be funded?
Funding for this project is provided by a low interest loan from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency’s Public Water Supply Loan Program (PWSLP). The PWSLP is funded both by state and federal sources. The $3.78 million loan has an interest rate of 1.76 % and will be repaid over 20 years. The new water meters will decrease non-revenue water, increase water consumption accounting, improve water meter reading efficiencies, and provide more real time information to residents about their water use.