Durant to consider automated water meters - KTEN.com - Texoma news, weather and sports

Durant to consider automated water meters

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New technology could eliminate the need to manually read water meters in Durant. (KTEN) New technology could eliminate the need to manually read water meters in Durant. (KTEN)

DURANT, Okla. -- If you spend a day with city water meter readers like James Cross, you'll soon learn that their job is no walk in the park.

"It's time-consuming, and there's stress to know we are running out of time due to the weather and other situations," he said.

They have to get in the dirt to check each meter, sometimes running into little critters including snakes, spiders and rats.

As Cross and his colleagues check 7,000 meters around Durant, the city is considering an option that will make their jobs much easier.

Automated meters use wireless technology that will eliminate the need for manually looking at numbers on gauges.

"It will cut down on the man hours it takes to do this job," Cross said.

Many of the water meters in Durant between 20 and 40 years old, making them more likely to be inaccurate.

"These new readers will cut down on the human mistakes," added meter reader Alvin Patterson.

Installing automated meters will also let the city's utility department find leaks faster, and that could save money for consumers.

We're losing about 50 percent of our water from what was treated to what was billed, so we know there's some issues we need to look at," said City Manager Tim Rundel. "This is just a solution to that."

"I think it would make everyone's job a lot easier, too," said utility supervisor Stephanie Barfield. "I think it would be more convenient for the customers."

The City Council will vote on funding for an electronic metering system next Tuesday. If approved, a program will begin to upgrade all existing water meters later this year.

Cross, Patterson and the other meter readers won't be out of a job; they'll just have new duties in the public works department.

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