Water Distribution Field Operations
Meter reading services
In 2009, the city completed a Water Meter Retrofit Program that replaced the installed radio transponders on every residential water meter in the city. This allows the Utilities Operations Division to utilize high-technology equipment to provide meter reading services to residents in the city. Using a radio-read system for meter reading, staff reads the water meter without pulling the meter lid off, thus eliminating reading and logging the numbers from each meter by hand. The system works by having the radio signal from each water meter send the reading to a mobile computer housed in a vehicle that drives up each street collecting readings from all of the houses in the area. This data is then downloaded to the Utility Billing Division of the Finance Department, which then issues a monthly utility bill to each water user in Westminster.
Protect your water pipes from freezing
Colorado winters are notorious for severe freezing weather and unprotected water lines will freeze at the most inconvenient times. The City of Westminster Utilities Division offers you a few suggestions to avoid frozen water pipes, and what to do when water pipes are frozen:
• Drain outside faucets by disconnecting garden hoses from them. If faucets are not self-draining, turn off the outside water.
• Turn off and drain irrigation sprinkler systems, especially the vacuum breakers, by opening the petcock valves.
• If water pipes are exposed to freezing temperatures in crawlspaces or from open or broken windows, wrap them with insulation or electrical heat tape.
• Make sure your water meter pit lid is in place.
• Turn off water and drain piping in vacant and unheated buildings.
• Locate and mark the main shut-off valve that turns off the water to your entire house. It is located just inside the home where the water service line enters, usually in the basement or crawlspace. City staff can also turn off the water in the meter pit upon request.
Following are pointers on where to look for a frozen water line:
• Enclosures (crawlspaces and basements).
• Any area where the pipe is enclosed and the area is not heated, such as an external stairwell.
• Where the service line comes through the basement foundation and the pipe has been enclosed and not properly insulated.
• Exposed areas (crawlspaces and basements).
• Any area exposed to the cold.
• Pipes installed close to air vents in crawlspaces.
• Pipes located near partially open windows.
• An area on the service line where an outside hose bib connection is installed
• Always check for breaks in the pipe before thawing. If a break in the pipe is located, make sure the shut-off valve is operational and closed before thawing the pipe.
Whatever methods are used to thaw frozen pipes, be sure to use safe working practices. Slow thawing is best. A hair dryer aimed at the frozen area of the pipe is appropriate; a blowtorch is not. Pipes that warm too fast may break anyway. Beware of electrical shocks when using electrical appliances, and of fire hazards if an open flame is used. Have adequate ventilation when heaters are used. Use caution when handling metal with bare hands in sub-freezing conditions. Anyone who needs additional instructions or assistance to turn off water at the meter pit or who suspects a frozen water meter should call the City of Westminster Utilities Division during normal working hours at 303-658-2500.