Water Meter Replacement Project

Why are we replacing water meters?

There are approximately 10,0000 active water meters that exist in the City’s system. The largest portion of the DPW’s metering infrastructure was installed between 1999 and 2000. As with any mechanical device, water meters are subject to wear and tear, and over time begin to lose their accuracy.

Instead of budgeting to test small meters, utilities typically budget to replace meters when they reach a specified age. The Department of Environmental Protection‘s (DEP) Guidelines and Policies for Public Water Systems states that the normal life expectancy of water meters ranges from 7 to 15 years. Approximately 70% of the City’s water meters have been in service 15-years or longer.

The project involves replacing all domestic, commercial and irrigation meters in service prior to 2022. These meters will be replaced with sensus meters, which do not depreciate in accuracy over time and therefore will provide great value in a replacement program.

Meters put in service since 2022 that have remaining useful life will be retrofitted with a new reading device.

What are the benefits of replacing water meters?

Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) systems allow a community to automatically retrieve meter readings without having to enter the customer’s home or facility or access their property.

The two general categories of AMR systems widely used today are mobile and fixed-network. The term Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is used to describe fixed-network AMR systems enabled with functionalities beyond meter reading for billing, such as acquisition of interval reads and event flags, such as leak and tamper identification.

We will be installing an AMI system, which provide the following benefits:

  • Improved meter reading efficiency, timely data collection for analysis, and improved read data consistency
  • Reducing the number of estimated bills.
  • Reducing administrative time and errors in entering meter read data.
  • Water conservation: the AMI system will detect potential leaks, allowing for the leak to be repaired faster and will save water
  • Meter readers do not have to enter the property to obtain meter readings.
  • More efficient meter reading, troubleshooting operations, and customer notifications.
  • Reduce customer inquiry call duration by providing better analytical tools and granular usage history. Information lets customer service representatives be better informed and helps customers understand their usage better.
  • Allow for a transition from quarterly to monthly billing. More frequent meter readings and bills will allow customers to better budget themselves and monitor their water use.
  • Significantly reduce abatements through efficient customer-side leak detection and proactive customer notification. Fixed networks allow for leaks to be flagged in days/weeks, instead of months, potentially preventing additional property damage and municipal water loss.

Water Meter Replacement Program; Expect a Letter in the Mail

The City has implemented a city-wide upgrade to our water metering system. This upgrade includes the replacement of all the water meters in Watertown. This replacement is free for the home or business owner. It is being paid for with City funds.

Replacement of "large" water meters (large-scale commercial properties) began in January 2023. "Small" water meters (residential and small-scale commercial properties) replacement began in Spring 2023 and is anticipated to continue through 2024. Weekly schedules of installation locations will be posted here for reference. 

Weston & Sampson Engineering (W&S) & Baystate Winsupply

Weston & Sampson Engineering is running this project for the City, and Baystate Winsupply Meter and Waterworks Services, will be performing the actual installation.

Letters to Schedule Appointments for the Meter Replacement

The Department of Public Works will send letters to each water meter property in an area of the City before Baystate starts work there.

The letters are marked with the City of Watertown’s seal. The scheduling process with Baystate is very easy through both phone and online options. The letter you will receive provides you with a phone number and web address for you to schedule an appointment to have your water meter replaced.

Information about how to schedule an appointment will be available when you receive your letter (PDF). Please do not contact the City of Watertown Department of Public Works directly to schedule your appointment.

Appointments are available at set times Monday through Saturday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Please allow a ½ hour window before and after your scheduled appointment time for Baystate’s arrival.

See a copy of the letter that will be mailed (PDF).

Water Meter Replacement Process

All Baystate Winsupply employees will have a photo ID badge and drive clearly marked vehicles. Do not allow any stranger into your home without a photo ID badge and clearly marked vehicle. Please call Baystate Winsupply to verify your appointment if you have any doubts.

The actual process of replacing or retrofitting the meter will take approximately 30 minutes. Baystate Winsupply installers are well trained in the replacement of water meters.

There are 2 parts to the water meter - the actual meter, and the reader device that allows the meter reader to check your usage without coming into your home after installation.

The installer will need to enter residential homes to conduct the full meter replacement. An adult (18 years old minimum) must be present for the entire time of installation and be able to sign a form to verify the water meter change out.

Please be sure that a minimum 5-foot radius around your water meter is accessible to the installer prior to the appointment.

How do I schedule an appointment?

Information about how to schedule an appointment will be available in the letter (PDF) you receive. Please do not contact the City of Watertown Department of Public Works directly to schedule your appointment.