Riverside home and commercial property owners can expect to have the water meters inside their buildings replaced sometime during the next three years after village trustees on Nov. 18 approved spending $1.1 million to purchase new meters from Kamstrup, a Denmark-based manufacturer of utility meters.

Installations will begin in May 2022, said Public Works Director Dan Tabb. The village is aiming to replace about 1,000 water meters per year through 2024.

“The process and order of installation will be developed over the coming months,” Tabb said. “Once the 2022 replacements have been identified, the property owners will be contacted for scheduling.”

Kamstrup was one of four meter manufacturers submitting proposals to the village, and from an initial capital outlay they were the most expensive, according to a summary of the proposals included in the packet for the Nov. 18 meeting of the Riverside Village Board.

However, Tabb told trustees that Kamstrup’s proposal would be the most cost-effective over the long haul, because of the company’s 20-year full replacement warranty on meters up to 1-inch, which account for nearly all of the water meters in Riverside, and on the batteries that power them.

Kamstrup’s meters have an integral transmitter as well, meaning no exterior transmitter needs to be installed, cutting installation costs in half, Tabb said. The meters also have what Tabb described as “an integrated, ultrasonic acoustic leak detector capable of detecting service line and main line leaks located within the system.”

According to Tabb, Kamstrup was the only manufacturer employing that technology and that early leak detection will reduce the amount of water that goes unmetered due to leaks or main breaks.

In recent years, according to Tabb, about 16 to 18 percent of the water it purchases through the village of McCook goes unmetered – and therefore unpaid by water customers. Tabb estimated that the village loses about $210,000 annually in unmetered water.

One leak detected “only by chance” in 2021, said Tabb, resulted in a loss of 600,000 gallons of water over a 17-hour period.

“This leak could have been found sooner if the Kamstrup meter had been installed at the time of the break,” Tabb wrote in a memo to trustees for their Nov. 18 meeting.

Some of that is due to leaks, but much also has to do with the existing water meters, most of which were installed around 2004 as part of the village’s first digital-read water meter system.

Those meters, whose mechanical parts wear out over time, have been under-registering water use, which results in the village under-billing water customers. The new Kamstrup meters will have no moving parts internally.

Because of meter failures that started cropping up 2012, the village has had to replace a number of them since that time. While the village intends to charge water customers for the new meters, those who have had to replace meters over the past decade will have the cost of the new meter pro-rated depending on when those replacement meters were installed. As residents pay for the installation of the new meters, the village’s initial capital investment will be repaid.

A new five-eighths inch Kamstrup meter, which is most typical for a single-family home, will cost customers $293. If a water customer had its old water meter replaced within one year of the Kamstrup installation, the village will pay 100 percent of the cost of the Kamstrup meter.

If an old meter has been replaced between nine and 10 years ago, the village will pay 10 percent of the cost of the new Kamstrup meter. Disabled veterans and those customers who can demonstrate financial hardship can qualify for installation of a new water meter at no cost to them.