White Oak to replace water meter registers city-wide

White Oak to replace water meter registers city-wide
Published: Sep. 14, 2023 at 12:27 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 14, 2023 at 11:05 PM CDT
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WHITE OAK, Texas (KLTV) - In an effort to more efficiently use their employees and keep customers informed the City of White Oak has plans to upgrade their water meter system. And the cost is not much more than using the older meters.

It’s no secret that batteries don’t last forever, although the built in batteries inside White Oak water registers do last about a decade according to White Oak City Coordinator Jimmy Purcell. But they were installed on resident’s meters a decade ago.

“They’re getting to that age we’re having to replace them with the meters that we’re using now. And so, we’re looking into using different registers for our meters,” Purcell said.

The battery is not replaceable, but only the face, or register, needs to be swapped out, not the entire meter.

“The digital ones that we’re looking into don’t have any internal parts,” Purcell said.

He believes digital meters will last longer with no moving parts. And with digital meters water usage would be interactive with residents.

“The customers can look at it at home on the computer or they can have an app on their phone,” Purcell said.

And they can see their usage. According to White Oak Maintenance Worker Colton Apple, the digital meters can be read from city hall eliminating driving around for radio reads. He said White Oak residents may not realize how much time it takes to read meters.

“They see the overgrown trees in the road. They see the potholes in the road. They see things like that and say oh they’re not doing anything. We’re just hindered by this,” Apple said.

He said White Oak has six maintenance employees and two of them can’t do repairs while reading meters. But a digital register:

“Sends a signal to a tower that we have in town. We have to buy the infrastructure for that, and that tower then turns around and sends a signal to the computer here at city hall,” Purcell said.

That would put two employees back to repairs instead of driving around town for as much as a week reading about 2,800 meters.

Purcell said the cost to replace dying meters with the same type is around 700 thousand dollars. The new digital system is $800,000 to $1 million including the needed tower and two repeaters. He also said the digital meters will last well over 10 years.

KLTV’s Jamey Boyum talks with White Oak City Coordinator Jimmy Purcell about water meter register replacement for the entire city.