Important Information Regarding the Use of Meters
Frank E. Merrill, water commissioner at Somerville, Mass., has fifty-three per cent, of the taps in that city metered, and last year he set 728 meters, being 117 more than is required by the State law. He says: “The metering of the entire city is progressing under the provision of state legislation requiring all services to be equipped with water meters. As in past years the number installed in l911 I was somewhat in excess of that actually required for the year. Never before has there been recorded so low a rate of water consumption for the city as for the past year, the figure 74 indicating the gallons per capita used for all purposes, domestic, public and commercial. This rate is 6 gallons lower than that of the previous year, which was the lowest on record to that time. While the water income holds at substantially the same figures from year to year, it is to be noted that notwithstanding the increase in percentage of metered services from 48 to 53, and the natural tendency to decreased revenue on account of the low rates for metered water, the actual receipts from the sale of water last year were the largest in the history of the city waterworks While the percentage of services metered has increased from 48 to 53, the percentage of receipts from metered water has increased from 55 to 59.” The total number of meters in use is 5,533, of which 2,809 are Lambert, 1,940 Worthington disc, 581 King, 473 Trident, 288 Hcrsey disc, 178 Nash, 126 Columbia Union 43, Keystone 24, Crown 21, Columbia 21, Empire 3, Hersey 7, Trident Crest 6, Trident Comp 4, Torrent 1, Gem 1. The following information regarding the use of meters is also given in the excellent report of Mr. Merrill for the year 1911:
By legislative action, to reduce water wastes and conserve the Metropolitan water supply, all buildings supplied with city water are required to have their service pipes equipped with meters. The water commissioner will designate particular sections of the city each year to which the provisions of the law shall apply, and a meter must be installed on each water service in the district so designated. Owners of property in other parts of the city than such designated districts mav have meters installed in their premises by making application therefor on blanks provided for that purpose, which may be obtained at the office of the Water Department, City Hall. Such applications for meters must be made prior to the commencement of the water income year, which is January 1; if received later than that date they* will be considered as for the following year. One meter for each service pipe entering the building will be furnished and he owned by the city; if additional meters are desired for tenements or stores, they must be paid for by the applicant. The cost of making all changes in piping and all renewals or additions, inside the building, that may be necessary to install the meter in a proper manner and in accordance with the water department requirements, must be borne by the property owner. The city does this work practically at cost; the charge varies, however, with the condition of the pipes and fittings found at the time of installation, but is usually less than $5 The owner may, if he so desires, employ bis plumber to do this work, which must conform in all respects to the requirements of the water department. Notice of such intention should be given to the water commissioner, otherwise the city will proceed with the work at the expense of the owner. If, for any purpose, a large meter is desired on premises where the quarterly water consumption is small, a rental for the meter will be charged in addition to the water rate. Meters are set, whenever at all practicable, at the point of entrance of the service pipe into the building, at or near the house stop-cock, care being taken that all branches of the house plumbing lead from the service pipe on the house side of the meter. In buildings under construction a meter connection is furnished the contractor to set in the pipe line until the house is occupied, when it is removed and a meter installed by the citv. In many cases, on account of unfavorable conditions where the service enters the house, or from the location of the house or service pipe, it is necessary to set the meter outside the house, generally in the sidewalk; the average cost to the property owner of such installation is about $15
The rate for metered water is twelve cents per 100 cubic feet (equivalent to sixteen cents per 1,000 gallons); the water charge, however, will not be less than $1.50 each quarter. For this minimum quarterly charge there may be used during the quarter 1,250 cubic feet of water, equivalent to 9,375 gallons, an average of 103 gallons daily. If in any quarter the consumption is greater than this, the total quantity used will be charged at 12 cents per 100 cubic feet, irrespective of the quantity that may have been u-ed in any previous quarter, or of the amount that may have been paid therefor. After a meter has been installed it will not be removed for the purpose of rating the premises on any other basis of water charges.
As a result of experiments the amount of water that might be wasted through defective plumbing, under average pressure, and its cost to the ratepayer, has been found to be as follows:—
A hole one-thirty-second of an inch in diameter is so small that an ordinary pin will completely fill it; yet in a quarter it will waste a quantity of water, if running constantly, that costs $3.57.
The greatest number of leaks occur in watercloset tanks through imperfect seating of the ballcock. A stream of water one-sixteenth inch in size may easily escape through a slightly defective ball-cock, causing a waste of water amounting in value to $13.38 per quarter.
If a hissing or roaring noise is continually heard in the water pipes, it is evidence of a leak, and by listening with the ear pressed closely against the pipe or faucet, a very small leak may be discovered by its sound. Close the house stop-cock in the cellar, and if the sound still continues notify the water department, as the trouble is probably outside the house; if it stops, the leak is inside, and a plumber should be called.
See that water is not being drawn in the house, then watch the hand on the “one foot” dial of the meter; if it revolves, however slowly, it shows that water is escaping through the pipes or fixtures in the house; if this hand remains stationary, no flow of water is being registered.
In commercial practise one cubic foot of water equals seven and one-half U. S. gallons and weighs sixty-two and one-half pounds, or eight and one-third pounds per gallon, and meters are calibrated on that basis.
An ordinary house meter is tested by weighing ten feet of water, as indicaled by the register, passing through the meter in a stream fiveeighths inch or one-half inch in diameter; five feet in a one-fourth-inch stream; and one foot in a one-eighth-inch stream.
A meter that registers within three per cent, of the proper weight of those quantities of water is considered sufficiently accurate; the variations, however, usually show a much lower percentage of error.
Meters are also expected to operate on and register flows as small as one-thirty-second inch in diameter.
A meter is said to “over-register” when it registers more water than is delivered by it to the consumer; and to “under-register” when it registers a smaller quantity than it should.
Inaccurate registration is easily corrected by changing the driving gear of the register train.
It is impossible for a water meter to operate unless the water passes through it; the flow of the water causes the piston to move and the meter to register. It is rarely that a meter runs too fast and registers more water than is used; it may become obstructed so that it runs too slowly, but this is in favor of the consumer, as more water passes through the meter than is registered.