APPLETON - More than 60,000 Northeast Wisconsin water customers will be getting new water meters.
Appleton, Grand Chute and several Brown County communities are in need of an upgrade.
The communities say the aging outdated systems can no longer be maintained.
The City of Appleton says it needs to spend $6.4 million to replace more than 27,000 water meters. While it is a lot of money, by doing something it has never done on a scale this big, the city saved water ratepayers from a more significant drain on their pocketbooks.
"By working together, the city of Appleton alone will save about $900,000 for our ratepayers," said Appleton Deputy Public Works director Nate Loper.
Together with Grand Chute, De Pere, and the Villages of Allouez, Bellevue and Howard, the communities purchased about 62,000 new water meters. Grand Chute is purchasing about 8,000 meters at a savings of a little more than $500,000 versus buying them alone.
"To join together with Appleton and the Brown County communities is a great benefit to the utility customers," said Town of Grand Chute Public Works director Tom Marquardt.
Loper says Appleton residents will likely see the cost of the new meters reflected on their bill in the form of a higher water rate. But the new wireless meters will also have benefits for water customers.
The new meters will help the city monitor water usage on a daily basis, meaning if you have a leak the city can catch it early and help save you from a bigger bill down the road.
The new meters will also give more accurate readings, come with less maintenance and last 20 years. Twice as long as Appleton's current meters. The cost of the project is $1.5 million less than the city had budgeted for. Thanks in part Loper says to the willingness of other communities to work together for greater savings.
"As a city we try to work cooperatively with other communities on joint purchases whenever we can but this is the largest scale purchase that I have been involved with."
Providing innovative new ways to save on essential city services.
Appleton and Grand Chute will begin installing the new meters later this year.
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