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Vidalia Begins Water Meter Project

The City of Vidalia has begun removing its old water meters and installing state-of-the-art replacements that can be read digitally. This project is one of two water infrastructure improvement initiatives being funded by the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, meaning no local money will be needed to finance the $3 million upgrade.

This change began last week, and each meter will take around 30 minutes to change, according to Project Engineer Kristen Courson. She said that workers have been instructed to knock on the door of each residence and business when the meter is about to be changed out to notify anyone who may be inhabiting the building that water will be cut off for around 15 minutes. All work is set to be complete by July 31.

“These new meters will benefit the City because of the meters’ accurate metering, which is very important for water conservation,” Courson explained. “The public will benefit from this change by being able to monitor their water usage for leaks and having a log of water usage per day and hour.”

Before any resident or business owner’s meter is changed out, they will receive a postcard from the City of Vidalia about the process. They will also be informed of the times that their water service may be unavailable for them to plan accordingly.

Once their meter is changed out, residents and business owners will have a door hanger placed on their door which will give information about the new meter and how to access their information online or through the mobile app. This online water portal will be available after all water meters in the city are changed out.

According to City Manager Nick Overstreet, these new meters will help the city in various ways, including allowing leaks to be detected, daily logs of usage to be kept, usage to be monitored, and meters to be read in a more exact and timely fashion. No city employee will have to physically travel to the meter to read it any longer, and citizens will have direct access to the information.

Mayor Doug Roper also commented on the project. 'We are very excited about this project. One of things I hope doesn't get lost with our community members is the creativity and outside the box planning that went into securing these funds. We, like all other communities, received ARPA funding from the federal government,” he explained.

He continued, “We prioritized some of those funds to go toward projects revolving around our infrastructure. We decided to take a portion of our ARPA funding, roughly $2 million, and treat it as our match when applying for state ARPA funds. In essence, we took our $2 million from the federal government and turned it into $6 million for infrastructure projects, fully funded without using any local tax dollars. Being able to replace every water meter will increase our proficiency, not only on the city's side, but it will also provide our citizens with the capability to manage their water consumption as well. This gives them an interactive platform to track and monitor their water consumption and more quickly identify, through an alert system, any problem that might arise.'

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