Charleston, WV, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 26, 2010 – West Virginia American Water has been awarded $3.85 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus funding by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources for the installation of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) water system.
This U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-approved “green” project, which will serve as a pilot project, will serve approximately 12,000 customers in Fayette County. It is hoped that eventually it will be expanded throughout West Virginia American Water’s service territory.
The AMI system will transmit water consumption data collected at customer meters to the company’s computer network daily via radio frequency. Employees can then evaluate the data not only for billing purposes, but also to uncover irregularities such as water leaks on customers’ properties. This will allow the customer to be quickly notified so that he or she can get the leak fixed, reducing both the amount of wasted water and the potential property damage.
The system will also have the capability of detecting leaks along the utility’s water mains through the use of acoustic monitors, which will be activated automatically at night when there are fewer other noises to detract from the leak sounds. This system is much more practical than the current one, in which personnel are equipped with mobile listening devices and must move methodically from area to area listening for leak noise. This current method allows an entire distribution system to be surveyed only one or two times per year depending on the size of the system and number of employees assigned to the leak survey crew. The new system will literally provide a leak survey every night.
Over time, the project is expected to significantly decrease the amount of lost and wasted water in the Fayette District. That saved water in turn will reduce the amount of chlorine and other chemicals needed in the water treatment process, the amount of waste residuals created during this process, the carbon dioxide emissions, fuel use and tire wear on the vehicles used to transport the chemicals to the water treatment plant and carry away the waste residuals, and the electricity used to pump the water throughout the system.
The daily transmission of meter data also will reduce trips into the field to collect meter readings, which should result in the need for fewer vehicles and a reduction in the resultant carbon emissions.
“This new technology will help West Virginia American Water operate more efficiently, which will benefit our customers, and will also have a positive effect on the environment,” said company President Wayne Morgan. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Installation of the new system began in February and should be complete by the year end. The total cost is estimated at nearly $4.7 million.
West Virginia American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water, is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing water services to approximately 600,000 people.