Water meters and their registers can often lose accuracy as they age. They must be replaced every 15 to 20 years. In addition, the new meter will have Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) technology that will save cost and prevent errors.
We are replacing two components. The first is the actual water meter located in the basement or utility closet. This meter will be replaced with a new meter and a radio read device. Secondly, properties with Read-o-matic (ROM) remote reading devices will be deactivated. The ROM will remain on the exterior wall of the property to protect any siding, stone, brick, or stucco exterior. The property owner may remove the device at any time or leave it installed. The picture below shows a Read-o-matic device that was previously wired to the meter in the basement and installed on the exterior of the property. The new radio device is typically installed right on top of the new meter, but we can also remotely mount the radio read device if transmission is not optimized.
City employees will be installing the new meter and radio read device, removing the old meter, and deactivating the Read-o-matic (ROM) remote reading devices. City employees will arrive in a City marked truck or van and will have City ID badges. We recommend a 3 foot radius around the meter to allow the work to be completed in a safe manner. Please remove anything blocking the meter before the appointment.
The West Allis Municipal Water Utility will send you a letter asking you to schedule a water meter exchange. You can schedule this appointment at your convenience, Monday through Friday with the earliest appointment at 7:30 am and the latest appointment at 2:15 pm. For residential meters, the appointment should take around 30 minutes. For commercial, industrial, and other customers, the appointments can range from 30 minutes to 8 hours depending on the size of the meter. Access to the meter needs to be available at all times. If you do cover up the meter, then make sure we are able to access it with a 3 foot radius in order to work on it if needed.
If the inlet and/or outlet valve are not working, then we will attempt to shut off the water at the curb stop. We recommend replacing any valves that are not working to ensure you will be able to shut off water in the event of an emergency. You can contact a plumber to replace the valves. The City will not replace the valves for you unless we happen to damage them during the appointment. Valves should be exercised regularly to reduce the likelihood of seizing and being inoperable in an emergency.
There will be a temporary service interruption during the meter replacement. The water service is typically off for 20 minutes. Once water service is restored, the City employee will attempt to purge any air trapped in the service line. If some air is left in the line, you may notice a sputtering sound the first time you operate a fixture. This should only last a few seconds and will not cause any harm. The first few gallons of water may be discolored. We recommend running the water until it is clear. This should not take more than five minutes.
There is no charge for the meter replacement. The only time the City will charge for a meter is if the meter is damaged. A meter can be damaged by not keeping the area around the meter warm enough to prevent freezing. If the water in the meter freezes, then the bottom of the meter is designed to crack to help avoid pipes bursting in your property.