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East Lyme - The town took the first step in the approval process for a proposed water meter replacement program.
The Water and Sewer Commission unanimously passed a motion Tuesday recommending the town allocate up to $2.6 million for adding new meters and updating equipment. The recommendation would go to the Board of Selectmen.
If approved by the selectmen, the issue would then have to be approved by the Board of Finance before proceeding to a town vote or referendum.
The town currently has a meter system in which a meter reader must walk up to each house to measure usage. Under the proposal, older meters would be replaced by a radio meter system, which would enable meter usage to be determined by equipment in a vehicle driving past. The meter program could also potentially evolve into a system in which the meters are read automatically, if the infrastructure is developed, said Municipal Utility Engineer Brad Kargl.
Kargl said the replacement program would allow the town to read meters quarterly rather than twice a year, enable better customer service and lead to better accounting of usage.
He added that the state Department of Public Health has said funding is available from its Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program, should the project be approved by the town.