Atlanta water meter audit shows majority in need of repairs

by: Dave Huddleston Updated:

ATLANTA —

The Atlanta Department of Watershed Management is wrapping up an audit of more than 160,000 water meters.

New meters were installed five years ago that allow city workers to read the meters electronically. The meters were supposed to be more accurate, but residents have continued to complain about broken meters and outrageous water bills.

The complaints prompted to $2.4 million, 11-month audit.

Based on audit results obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV, only 47,000 of the city’s meters work perfectly. More than 90,000 need repairs, are in the process of being fixed or inspection information is still being tabulated.

Atlanta’s deputy chief operating officer Hans Utz, said that just because the majority of meters need repairs, that does not mean they are not reading accurately.

“In fact, the vast majority of the repairs had to do with minor repairs like a cracked meter lid or more water than we wanted to see inside the meter,” Utz said.

Utz said despite the repair problems, spending $35 million to upgrade to electronic water meters was worth the cost.

“They are more accurate when they work, and it takes out any potential for human error or misreading a number, for example,” Utz said.

Utz said the audit will be completed in September.