A Metered Approach - An Inside Look into the Village's 2020 Water Meter Replacement Program

A Metered Approach - An Inside Look into the Village's 2020 Water Meter Replacement Program

By Village Manager Phil Kiraly Phil_Kiraly

In my blogs this year, I’ve found myself sharing a number of stories about the work the Village has done in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To say the pandemic altered the trajectory of 2020 would be the biggest understatement in the history of understatements! The Village’s current Stub Year 2020 fiscal year began on March 1. While the hopeful optimism of kicking-off great projects and initiatives faded as the pandemic continued, we worked to eliminate over $2.4 million in planned expenditures from the current budget in response to COVID-19 revenue impacts. Despite these changes, the Village Board and staff remained focused on moving forward with the most critical projects. One of those critical projects is our Water Meter Replacement Program, which includes community-wide replacement of the over 3,200 water meters in every Glencoe home and business.

We’ve been sharing information about this project with the community for months now, and soon we’ll be arriving at the project kick off. What can you expect? We’ve created a short video that highlights the project, how it fits in with our other water utility investments, what the water meter replacement appointment will entail and the COVID-19 precautions that will be in place to make this process both safe and easy for families and businesses. How do I know it’s safe and easy? I’ll get back to that in just a minute.

Within the next week, you can expect to receive an introductory flyer in your mailbox that provides an overview of the Water Meter Replacement Program. If you can’t wait to learn more, our comprehensive webpage dedicated to this subject has a wealth of information available. The community has been split into three zones for replacement, with replacements in the first zone starting the week of August 31. Once you call to schedule your appointment, trained installers (monitored daily by Village staff with temperature checks) will come to your home or business, replace the meter and be done in less than 30 minutes. This is a contact-less effort; there’s nothing you need to do other than lead (or point) the technician to your meter, which is usually located in your basement or in a utility closet. On the consumer side of this effort, your part should be easy and effortless.

That’s it. Really.

Eventually, as the Village rolls this program out across the community, you’ll have a mobile app and dedicated webpage that will allow you to monitor and manage your water usage. For the Village, this will be the first complete water meter replacement in over 60 years. Our existing meters are old, failing to communicate water usage and inaccurately “metering” in many cases. That means that meters are under-recording usage, and therefore, there are instances where we are underbilling for that usage. Why does that matter? Because the Village has developed a comprehensive water system improvement plan that includes over $25 million being invested in water mains to get your water safely to you. We have also started planning for replacement/relocation of our 90+ year old water tower west of the Edens Expressway, and we know that major investment in our water plant (or a solution to partner with another community) is on the horizon in the relatively near term (in the next five-ten years). These efforts will be largely supported by water revenues, which are the rates you pay the Village for the water that you use. This is why accurate billing is so important. The Village directly reinvests these resources back into the system which provides arguably the most critical of services to every household and business, every day: clean, safe water.  

To get back to why I know this process is safe and easy, when you watch the video, you might see a familiar face opening the door to the installer (spoiler alert: it’s me!). Before we started this process for the entire Glencoe community, I wanted to understand and experience for myself what each of you would have to experience when your meter was being replaced. In my case, it took about 20 minutes from start to finish. My family was home at the time, and we kept our distance (while also wearing masks). The installer also wore a mask, touched nothing in my home except the door to our utility closet and the meters themselves and wrapped up the process with ease. We surely recognize that some of you may be anxious about this process, and we take our commitment to your safety and well-being very, very seriously.

The Village values your cooperation with this project, and our team is available to answer questions that you may have about the process. Please call Management Analyst Megan Olson at (847) 461-1115 or e-mail molson@villageofglencoe.org with any questions you may have.

As always, thanks for your partnership on this and so many Village initiatives!