EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written in response to reader-submitted questions through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask Richland Source’s newsroom to investigate a question.
ONTARIO ─ If you wonder whether the City of Ontario will replace water meters, just like what Mansfield has been doing, you are not alone.
Ruthie Good asked Richland Source the very question last week through its Open Source platform.
“Will Ontario water customers be getting the new, required water meters since we provide their water? If so, who is paying for those meters?” she asked.
Mansfield has urged its water customers to make an appointment and have the new meter installed. So far, more than 5,000 customers have not finished the installation.
Regarding Good’s question, the first thing that needs to be clarified is Mansfield does not provide water for Ontario. Mansfield only processes wastewater for Ontario.
Jeff Wilson, Ontario’s service-safety director, said the city has its own water treatment plant. It is on Lexington-Springmill Road North and is close to the Walmart Supercenter.
He also said Ontario just finished installing all new water meters in 2015 and is not planning to do any replacement.
“The warranty hasn’t even expired. They're (the meters) still that new, so we're in good shape,” he said.
Ontario spent about $1 million on the new water meters project and started it in 2014. All new meters have a 10-year warranty. Wilson said the reasons for the upgrade were similar to that of Mansfield: the meters wore out and their accuracy became questionable. The city lost revenue from water bills.
Wilson said the new meter system has benefited Ontario and its water customers. With the help from the antenna on a water tower, the city can now pull up the customers’ readings online every day if needed. It used to send out workers to walk through yards and read the meters.
The city also more easily spots a potential water leak or a spike in usage. Wilson said the new meter system has saved many customers money. A lot of times they have a running toilet or leave an outside spigot on and causes a tremendous increase in usage.
Before the new meter system was installed, customers may not find out the issue until they receive a water bill. Wilson said now the city has a better idea of the situation and can notify people in a timely fashion.