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Bad Water Meter

paul lessard_3
paul lessard_3 Member Posts: 186
My customer Is fighting the town about a 300k gal water bill for a three month period.
She called them the day she got the bill and they quickly paid a visit and "updated" her meter, taking the old one for testing.
guess what... testing showed that she was getting 3% of her water for free
A little background. She has been calling on us for 27 years and is known for calling at even a hint of a leak
she's the type that will place a bucket in the tub and collect the drips till we got there!
Well she has had no leaks before,during of after this high read
The only thing that she can tell me was she heard the meter spinning quickly on several occasions but was certain that nothing was running
so I guess my question is what can make a meter spin without water running past it?

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  • Jim Bennett
    Jim Bennett Member Posts: 607
    Bad meter

    I don't believe a meter can spin with no water running through it but turbulence can effect the read. Most meter install instructions call for a given length of straight pipe before and after the meter for proper operation.

    May be hard to prove now that the original meter is gone though.

    Good luck,
    Jim Bennett
  • scrook_2
    scrook_2 Member Posts: 610
    if it was spinning...

    SOMETHING was using water! Maybe some kids left her hose on all night, who knows. Abatement of the bill is a completely differant issue though, hopefully she can work it out.
  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Ghost flow...

    Meters don't spin unless theres water going through them. I suspect she had a bad flapper on a water closet with a fluid master type of ball cock that goes from full closed to full open in an instant.

    I'd do a food dye test (heck SHE can do a food dye test) on all her WC's and see if any dye shows up in the bowl. Its amazing how fast water waste adds up. 3% under read is the norm. Denver calculates their "unaccounted for water loss) at 7%.

    Best to test.


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  • paul lessard_3
    paul lessard_3 Member Posts: 186
    The thing that I don't get is

    the numbers just spiked then came back to normal without any repairs ,this lady can smell water leaking!!!!!!!!
    Oh well what can you do?
    there was a tunnel boring machine working under her house @ the time...and she's only 200ft from the start of the hole hummmmmm?

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  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    the tunnel boring machine still submerged?

    water meter might be letting water by on a toilet flapper as stated however thats a heckalota water in a month!. i'd suspect if the meter wasnt accurate one could argue the meter may have had other faults...........on that note i bid you adieu:)
  • Robert O'Connor_7
    Robert O'Connor_7 Member Posts: 688
    What kind of meter was it??

    I've seen meters installed in residences immediatly adjacent to a large industrial facility. When the facility would process something and use massive amounts of water and then shut down you could see the meter spin from the water hammer. Another symptom was the residents relief valve would blow (pretty weird). The typical pressure on & off peak was between 50 & 75 psi..We installed a PRV & expansion tank and problem went away..Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • paul lessard_3
    paul lessard_3 Member Posts: 186
    I never got to see the old one

    what is that just over 2 gpm? what gets me going is how the town calls her a liar and tells her she must of fixed the leak,right to her face..If it was just anyone I would think yea ok lady you left the garden hose running for three months and don't want to pay but not mrs ciampi.I guess I'll never know..thanks guys

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  • Murph'_5
    Murph'_5 Member Posts: 349
    have her write a letter

    then have an endorsement from you stating what you said here !! send it to the powers that be with a note that she needs to get issue resolved ASAP. can you calculate how much water it would take to run a 1.6 gph faucet for a period of a day/week/month to show what kinda numbers they are looking to charge her for, and possible heads up that this might look bad in the media !! hit em where it hurts!


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  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928

    Water meter in my downtown bar had an intermittent problem. Got a couple extraordinary bills (even considering the water-cooled icemaker that was running full-flow until I adjusted properly) and complained. City tested, said meter was fine and didn't replace. A few months later bills started spiking again. This time city tested, said there was something wrong with the meter and replaced it. They made a small bill adjustment and there hasn't been a problem since.

    Have her be patient, polite and persistent. An affidavit from you (considering you know her system is well-maintained and are aware of her vigilance) should go a long way...
  • jackchips_2
    jackchips_2 Member Posts: 1,338
    Who does the

    water company report to? Municipal water companies in Mass are regulated and there is an appeals process.

    Here in Northbridge the board of Selectmen are also the water commissioners and they respond to residents complaints. I would suggest she document what you have said and submit it to whatever local board has oversight.

    Good luck
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    Where is the meter located?

    if it is out in a pit at the street, maybe install a second one inside the home. Plastic meters are fairly cheap, and a good troubleshooting tool to own, for hydronic radiant as well.

    This would eliminate the underground portion of the line question, and give you a second opinion on the city meter.

    hot rod

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  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Poor customer service...

    The utility thinks they have her by the short hairs, and in reality, they do. Where else could she go for water. That is still no excuse for poor customer service. I'd contact the manager of the water deptartment and let him know your side of the story. They may not rebate the whole amount, but they should give her partial credit for being dilligent.

    My wife works for the largest underground utility west of the mighty Mississip, and the bend all the time. It just takes a little pressure, thats all.


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