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New water meter helps save West Fargo home

City continues installing remaining meters across town

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WEST FARGO — About 8,000 new water meters have been installed across West Fargo, but for one homeowner, the new meter may have already saved their home.

Monday, Dec. 3, Public Works Director Matt Andvik said while the online site that is planned for residents to monitor their water use is not yet ready, the city does receive alarms from the installed meters.

Just recently, the public works department received an alert of an oddity at one West Fargo home. Andvik said public works staff reached out to the homeowners and found they had left their home to spend the winter in Arizona.

The homeowners were able to ask family members to check in on the house and the found that a faucet had been left on.

“They had a small bill but it didn’t flood their home,” Andvik said. “If we had not known about it, it probably would have been two months and they could have had a big bill or a lot of damage.”

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Andvik said most of the new meters have been installed. The city ordered about 9,000 meters and 8,103 have been installed.

The meter company, Vanguard, installed about 7,000 over the 2021 summer while the city installed about 700 as of Dec. 21.

Additional meters have been ordered but remain to be shipped.

Andvik said there are 2,085 meters to still be installed, about 1,400 are in residential properties while the remaining business properties that remain.

"We’ve already seen a lot of benefit from this project," Andvik said. "[The meters] make for a lot better interaction with residents. They’re understanding more of what is going on in their homes."

In November 2020, the West Fargo City Commission unanimously approved spending about $2.8 million on replacing 9,000 water meters throughout the city. Installation of the new meters will cost about $2.8 million, with an annual cost of about $25,000 for operation, but there was no fee increases for residents.

Of the 9,000 new meters, about 1,000 would include remote shutoff capability for the city. Once the resident portal is ready for use by residents, residents will be able to view anytime. Residents can also receive alerts from the system that would tell them if an unusual spike in usage occurs.

Two base stations for the meters will be installed at the 40th Avenue tower and the other at the 12th Avenue tower.

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Other business

Andvik reported that crews continue to clean up after about 9 to 11 inches of snow blanketed the city just after Christmas.

During the storm, crews were on the streets plowing about 24 hours every day. While most of the snow has been removed, crews continue to focus on "maintenance zones" and especially areas south of Interstate 94 which was hit hardest.

As of Monday, Dec. 3, crews had taken away 400 loads of snow from the city's neighborhoods.

"We’ll have blades running in the maintenance areas, but we will also have one crew down south to get it cleaned out," Andvik said.

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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