THE USE OF METERS

THE USE OF METERS

In every city having a public water supply the element of waste makes up a large part of the aggregate consumption. The causes that produce this waste are many. For instance, there is the improperly regulated water closet and tank flushing valves, and also the poorly regulated ball cock, of the closets and tanks. The leaking of faucets at different sinks, wash trays, bath tubs and lavatories. The improper arrangements of pipes in hot water supply system, etc. I like the way W. H. Lawrence, of Kalispell, puts it and will quote from his report of 1915: “It is a well known fact that the water department of every city is justified in adopting measures to prevent the waste of water. In the sale of any commodity, and water is a commodity, there must be in all fairness some basic principle upon which its cost of production and sale can be established so that each individual interested may receive equitable results. It is not fair trading to sell at the same price one family 2,000 gallons of water a month and the next door neighbor 5,000 gallons; yet, such conditions exit where schedule rates prevail. To attempt to set a price on a commodity, the amount of which has not been determined, is a difficult problem for solution; the amount of water is not known, the right to handle the faucet is leased to the consumer and he handles it as he pleases.” Such are the conditions existing in all cities where schedule rates prevail. The installation of the filtration plant has increased the cost of production very materially and to overcome the cost of production wastage must be stopped as far as possible, and I recommend that the rules and regulations be enforced and all consumers found violating them be placed on Pieter rates. We will install meters for all who apply for them.”

THE USE OF METERS.

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THE USE OF METERS.

Dabney H. Maury, Jr., superintendent of the Peoria, Ill., Water company, says in relation to the question of water meters:

I am strongly in favor of the general introduction of meters, as offering the only means by which the average pumping plant can keep up with the demand of its consumers, and I should not like to be understood as arguing against their use. But the matter costs somebody, either the water company, the water department, or the consumer, as the case may be, and according to who pays for it, a great deal of money; and it is well to know how much.

We have about 1,000 meters in Peoria, from the smallest size up to four inches. Most of these are small meters and are set on private residences; and it is to these that I refer especially. We carefully test all our meters before setting them, and after removing them. We also test them as often as may be required while in service. A record is kept of each test and of each meter. We usually set me. ters in cellars close to the front wall, due precaution being taken to choose a location as nearly safe from frost as possible. If it be necessary to protect the meter further from frost, or from injury by coal or wood stored in the cellar, we require the meter to be housed in a suitable box or case. Next to the wall is an ordinary stop cock. Then comes the meter, then a T, carrying a riser eighteen inches high which is provided with a brass test cock at its upper end; next comes a check valve to protect the meter against water-hammer and injury from hot water, and after the check comes a stop-cock. The check-valve is only set upon services provided with proper relief or safety valves on hot water tanks. The stop-cock is used in connection with the riser before mentioned, for the purpose of testing the meter without removing it from the pipe. During a test, stopcock is closed to prevent water being drawn either for use or through leaky fixtures in the house, and the test cock is opened and the water weighed or measured in a graduated test bucket. The stop and waste cock, for draining the pipes, is set beyond the stop cock last mentioned, and outside of the meter-box. This setting varies somewhat with the conditions of each case. The cost of the meter varies with size and make. For small meters, the cost of meter and setting is from $18 to $27.

The additional expense of maintaining and operating a meter service is due to the following causes:

Interest and depreciation on meter and setting; repairs to meter and setting; testing meter; reading meter twelve times a year; making out twelve meter bills (instead of four fixture rate bills) and mailing and collecting same; additional-clerical work, books and stationery, due to the fact that a meter bill requires more labor than a fixture rate bill,

As nearly as we can learn from our own experience, the additional expense due to the above causes, amounts, on a small meter-service, to about $7.85 per year more than the same service would cost if unmetered. From what I have said it will be seen that the meter is a source of considerable expense, amounting to from $18 to $27 at first cost, and to about $7.85 per year thereafter. Part of this is usually borne by the consumer and part by the water company or department.