City installs water meters this month
EVERETT - The city will start installing water meters in northeast Everett later this month.
The installation was delayed by a month as the city waits for a vacuum truck to arrive. The $400,000 truck is set to arrive next week, and work will begin shortly thereafter, city spokeswoman Kate Reardon said.
The truck is used to suck out dirt as part of the meter installations.
More than 12,000 homes will be getting water meters by 2017 to meet a state mandate passed by the Legislature in 2003. Most north Everett homes don’t have meters because their homes were built before meters were required by the city in the 1990s.
The city is installing the meters from east to west, meaning northwest residents won’t get meters anytime soon. The Delta Neighborhood is part of the first group of homes to get water meters.
Most of north Everett works on a flat rate billing system for water and sewer. The city will bill newly metered customers on the flat rate system under a one-year grace period. The bill will show the comparable cost under a metered rate to educate homeowners on the upcoming change.
The flat rate is $53.40 for water and $93.40 for sewer for each two-month billing cycle. Households with a water meter pay a base rate of $32.04 for 12,000 cubic feet of water and $93.40 for sewer for each two-month billing cycle.
Generally, heavier water users and big families will see higher bills under the metered rate; lighter water users will see lower bills. Residents who like what they see can ask to switch over to the metered rate before the grace period is up by calling the city’s utility billing department at 425-257-8999.
The city is trying to make the switch as painless as possible, public works spokeswoman Marla Carter said. Homeowners will get a two-week heads up that city workers will be coming onto their property to install the meters, Carter said. The city is sending out a flyer about the meter installation to a ffected homeowners soon.
The city plans to install meters at a clip of 500 meters per each round of installations. The city doesn’t know yet how long a round will take, Carter said. It’s estimated the first round could take about six months to complete, Carter said.
This month, residents can expect to see city workers visiting homes to locate the water shutoff valve for the first round of installations.
There’s no way around getting a meter. The city has right-of-way access to homeowners’ properties along the water line.
If there are any plants or driveways that need digging up, the city will communicate this with the homeowner, Carter said.
The entire meter project will cost the city $9.5 million. The bulk purchase of thousands of new meters represents $3 million of that cost.
The new meters automatically report water usage through electronic signals that can be picked up from the street. The city will not be hiring additional water meter readers because of the added meters, Carter said.
People who have meters now will get a new automatic meter as part of the replacement, Carter said.
To get more information on the meter project and find a water usage calculator, check out the city’s website at www.everettwa.org/default.aspx?ID=2071.