Water Meter Replacement Program

The City of Colona has been conducting a mandatory Water Meter Replacement Program at no cost to residents. Water meters and associated parts will be replaced in all residential homes and businesses throughout the City. This project is needed because many of the City's water meters are more than 20 years old and have exceeded their life expectancy.

The City’s Water Department reads approximately 2,100 meters via three separate reading systems (Radio, Touch Pad and PIN).  The City still has a significant portion of meters that require “walk-up” manual reading. The PIN reading system has become obsolete and can no longer receive support.  These older water meters have been in service for 20 to 33 years and have reached the end of their useful lives and frequently require bills to be estimated.  In order to provide a more cost effective and efficient service to the residents, the Water Department began replacing meters that require manual reading with meters that utilize Radio Read.  Recently, the PIN reading equipment has begun to fail much more frequently.  This has caused a tremendous strain on resources for the Department, and the number of estimated reads has increased.  Due to this fact, the Water Department will be accelerating the Water Meter Replacement Program.

The new water meters will allow for the consolidation of the reading systems.  This will drastically increase the efficiency of the meter reading process.  The new meters will also have an expected 20-year battery life.  Once these meters have been replaced, all the meters in Colona will have a wireless device that transmits the meter readings on a licensed radio frequency over a short distance to a handheld or mobile device.

Residents will be contacted via letter and/or a door posting notifying them that their household meter requires a change-out.  The resident will then call City Hall to schedule a meter change-out appointment.  During this appointment, a Water Department employee will visit the home to replace the water meter, free of charge. Each appointment takes about 30 minutes to complete, during which the water will be shut off for about 15 minutes.

As part of the mandatory program, water meters and meter reading equipment located on properties will require replacement.




 How will I know if my meter needs to be replaced?

You will receive a letter from City Hall asking you to please make an appointment. Appointments can be done by calling City Hall at 309-792-0571 or online at Meter Appointment Request

 Why is my water meter being replaced?

The water meters in Colona have reached the end of their useful lives. Per the AWWA, residential meters should be changed at 20 years, to maintain the correct meter accuracy. Most residential water meters in Colona are 20 to 30 years old. Water meters often lose accuracy as they age, resulting in incorrect billing and non-revenue water loss. The new meters will have an expected 20-year battery life. 

 Will the new meter cause my monthly water bills to increase?

Once your old meter is replaced with a new meter, your first bill may be slightly higher. That is because the new meter is measuring your water usage more precisely, and your old meter may not have been fully measuring your actual usage. New meters ensure fairness and equality among customers and ensure that each individual residence or business is being held responsible for their water use. After the first bill or two, you should expect to see the usage level out. 

 What is the cost to have my water meter replaced?

The water meters are being replaced at no charge to the homeowner. 

 Where is my meter located?

Most water meters are located in the basement or crawl space where the water service pipe enters the building, The meter will be two to three feet above the ground usually by the wall closest to the street.

 What if I am a renter and do not own the property?

If you are a tenant, you will be asked to provide access to the water meter for the installation. A copy of the water meter installation notice will be sent to the property owner as well.

 Do I need to be home for the meter replacement?

Yes. Water meters are located inside, typically in a basement or utility area. Someone 18 years or older must be home during the appointment.

 How does the meter reading system work?

Each water meter will have a pre-installed E-Coder R900i radio frequency meter interface unit. With the E-Coder R900i there are no external wires or units on the outside of your home. Readings are done remotely through a fixed network radio connection. Each meter has a unique identification number that ensures that only your reading is being assigned to your account.

 How will the data from my meter be used?

The data from the meter is used to generate water and sewer bills as well as proper accounting of water consumption. This information is important in the preparation of reports to state regulatory agencies.

 Is there any maintenance required by the property owner or tenant for the new water meter?

No, The new water meters do not require any maintenance by the property owner or tenant. However, do not allow the temperature in your basement/crawl space to fall below levels that would freeze the meter or your plumbing during winter months. If the meter is located on an outside wall, be sure to insulate the space between the meter and the wall to prevent freezing. If the meter is damaged due to neglect or freezing, the replacement costs will be at the property owner or tenant's expense. 

 What if I can't find my meter?

If you have a finished basement, the water meter may be behind a wall. If the meter is behind a finished wall, it is the responsibility of the property owner or tenant to provide access to the water meter for the replacement. The water meter installers will not cut into walls to expose the water meter. If the water meter is not accessible at the time of the appointment, you will be required to reschedule your appointment after access has been made.

 What should I do to prepare for the installation?

Know where your water meter is located. Make sure the area around the water meter is clear to allow room for the installers to work with at least a four-foot (4’) radius. Make sure your water meter is accessible; if the meter is buried behind a finished wall, provide an access point before your scheduled appointment. Secure your pets to protect both your pet and the installer.

 How long will it take to replace the water meter?

Normal meter installation time is about 15-30 minutes, during which the water will be shut off.  

 What is my responsibility as a homeowner?

City Code states that it is the homeowner's responsibility to maintain the water pipes and valves within their homes.

 What powers the water meter?

The meter is powered by a battery and the expected life of the battery is 20 years which coincides with the expected life of the new meter.

 Do I have to allow access for a meter change?

Yes, the installing of the new meter is mandatory and per City Ordinances Chapter 8-1-9 Section B - Access to Meters: The City and its employees shall have ready access to the premises, place or buildings where meters are located for the purpose of reading, examining, testing and repairing the same, and examining and testing the consumption, use and flow of water, and it shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, or obstruct the City, or its duly authorized agent, in its duties hereunder. Every consumer of water shall take the same upon the conditions prescribed in the Section (1997 Code)

 What will happen if I do not comply with the mandate?

Failure to upgrade your water meter in the allotted time frame will result in loss of water service and a $75 water turn off/on fee will be added to your account. 

Per City Ordinances Chapter 8-1-5 Section B-6 - Authority to shut off Water Supply - The City Collector, Public Works Director, or Water Superintendent, the Mayor or the Chairman of Public Works Committee may authorize an employee of the City to shut off the water supply to any dwelling where the best interest of the City is served. (0-15-012, 9-14-2015)

 Will the radio interfere with my television, cordless phone, or other electronic devices?

No, the radio transmissions occur on a frequency very different from those used by television signals, cordless phones and other electronic devices. There are no risks or hazards from the equipment.

 Will I be able to read my own meter? Water meter detail showing parts of the screen.

You can read your own meter by shining a flashlight at the LCD panel. The display will toggle between meter reading (9 digits) and current flow rate (3 digits). The flow rate is the average rate of flow in the last 12 seconds. This will allow homeowners to monitor water usage and proactively manage leaks and water usage.

The display will show a faucet icon when it detects a leak; a flashing faucet indicates an intermittent leak such as a leaky toilet flapper valve; a faucet icon that is displayed constantly represents a continuous leak such as a hose left on outside. In addition, the LCD panel displays a flow indicator arrow which confirms if meter is currently in use. This would also indicate if there is low flow water usage or reverse flow through the meter.