Winamac Looking for Lost Water

winamacThe Winamac Water Department is looking to keep track of water usage by the Winamac Volunteer Fire Department. But Water Department Superintendent Jeremy Beckner says the change will not attempt to limit the amount of water the Fire Department uses. “There’s going to be no limit on it,” he says. “The meter is just strictly for my accountability of water, for my water loss.”

He says that local utilities have been required to account for their water through the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission. However, a new program of water audits mandated by the Indiana Finance Authority led Beckner to look into metering the fire department’s water. He says that when a utility’s water loss reaches 20 percent, the state recommends that they start figuring out where the water’s going, “I was a little higher than what I wanted to be on my water loss, so I kind of went around trying to find it. That’s one reason why we’re just finishing up a leak survey, where I had a company come in and listen for leaks on the water mains and stuff, and I know the fire department doesn’t have a meter on their service, so just ways to find the water that’s not accounted for, through metering.”

A couple weeks ago, the Winamac Town Council approved the purchase of a transit time flow meter for the Fire Department from ACME Process Equipment Company, for a cost of $2,717. The measure passed by a vote of two-to-one, with Tom Murray opposing the purchase. In addition to his concerns with the cost, Murray noted that fire hydrants are also not metered for potential water loss. Beckner says he’s able to estimate how much water is being used while fighting larger-scale fires, but figuring out the amount of water used to fill up the Fire Department’s tanker is more difficult.

There were also some concerns raised about the accuracy of a transit time flow meter, but Beckner says it would be easier to install, given the pipe layout at the Fire Department. He expects that type of meter would be more than 80-percent accurate, which he believes is a great improvement over the current situation of no metering.

Beckner says that while the council approved the purchase two weeks ago, the new meter has not yet been ordered.