Radio-read water meters hot topic at city council
Concerned citizens filled the Fairfield City Council room Tuesday night for the first reading of the Water Meter Opt-Out Program ordinance, a piece of legislation which would allow residents to decline the installation of a new type of “Read-o-Matic” water meter.
The concern rises from the new meter’s ability to transmit data wirelessly using radio waves. While it was originally understood that the meter would only transmit when activated by an official meter-reading truck, the meters instead transmit for 7 milliseconds every 14 seconds, amounting to 44 seconds of radio transmission a day. Many people have expressed concern about the meter’s effect on their health.
The proposed ordinance is written to allow residents to replace or refuse installation of their current Read-o-Matic radio meter if they, “pay one hundred ($100) dollars for Read-O-Matic service register, seventy-five ($75) dollars per hour installation fee with a minimum one half (1/2) hour charge for installation required, and a monthly service fee of ten dollars ($10) there after assessed to the customers billing.”
Those opposed to the current draft consider the $100 one-time fee and $10 monthly service fee an unnecessary penalty for their health concerns about the new meter. The council asserts that the fees are logical since non-radio meters are not an item in the budget, and more work is required to read them.
While some of the public have health concerns regarding having a radio frequency transmitter in their home, the city council asserts that the Read-o-Matic meter causes no known danger.
“If [Water Superintendent Carl Chandler] ever receives the message that these meters are hurting anyone he will take them all out,” said Michael Halley, 4th Ward representative.
“The reason we’re moving as quickly as we are now is because of the opt out,” said Mayor Ed Malloy. “What we do moving forward long term [with the radio-read meters] is something we can take more time on.”