Water system not meeting expectations
by Denise Strub
Nov 11, 2013 | 2783 views | 0 0 comments | 37 37 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The new water system contracted by Cleveland from Siemens Water Technologies was expected to be online and operating months ago, however meter issues have caused delays.

According to city Engineer Greg Korb, over 6,000 water meters have been replaced with new meters, which transmit information over long wave radio signals.

The new system will provide Cleveland greater revenue as the meters present a more accurate reading of water usage.

However the system has not gone completely online, as several hundred meters have stopped working.

“The have bad dials,” Korb recently told the Cleveland Board of Aldermen, adding that over 400 were discovered bad last month.

Siemens purchased the meters from Mueller Water Products, which admitted in October there was a problem with their product.

Yet the replacement meters are also coming from Mueller.

“We’re not ready to go online by any stretch of the imagination,” said Cleveland Mayor Billy Nowell.

Siemens guaranteed the aldermen would see an increase in revenue with the new system but because of the malfunctioning meters the city is losing money.

According to city attorney Jamie Jacks, Siemens has been presented with a bill for the lost funds.

“We can’t afford to replace 200 meters a year, and this may go on for years, when it’s the manufacturer’s problem,” said Keith Christopher of ST Environmental, which manages the city’s water and sewer system.

Korb said Siemens had projected about 10 percent of the meters had bad dials.

“And that’s just the ones showing up now,” said Alderman Gary Gainspoletti.

“How many have to go bad before we say we have major problem and have to fix the whole thing,” said Alderman Maurice Smith.

“When you buy a car and can’t drive it off the lot, you give it back,” said Gainspoletti. “In a situation like now, every one of those meters may go bad.”

The aldermen were reminded that all the products in the system were under a 15-year warranty.

Jacks also reminded the aldermen that in October they had agreed to give Siemens a “substantial completion” order, which means the company can start comparing the water usage numbers from previous years.

If the last few months, because of the bad meters, show a loss, the company will have to pay the city for the loss.

“We need to let Siemens know we are disenchanted with this whole thing,” said Gainspoletti.

Jacks relayed Siemens officials are also not happy because their reputation is being damaged.

City officials were to meet last week with representatives of Siemens and Mueller to get answers on the meter problems.

The cost to put this new system into place was estimated to be around $3.267 million dollars.

Siemens Water Technologies is a company that provides solutions for comprehensive, cost-effective and reliable water systems geared at keeping cities safe and businesses profitable.