UNION CITY — The Union City Municipal Authority will be visiting residences and businesses in the borough beginning in mid-May to inspect water meters for accuracy.

The home and business meter inspections are one part of an aggressive program initiated by the authority to identify why the borough’s public water supply has experienced significant water losses over the past several years and resolve the problem.

Water loss is defined as water that is produced that is not billed and paid for, said Terry Shrout, authority manager. Water loss affects the level of service to customers, and the cost and quality of the water.

“That’s water that we have to pay for to treat and the costs keep going up,” Shrout said. “We want to control costs so we can keep costs down for our customers.”

The authority recently acknowledged that significant water losses have been an ongoing concern.

Annual reports submitted to the state reveal that water losses were 57 percent in 2009, 60 percent in 2008 and 58 percent in 2007, Shrout said.

Not all that water, which originates at Union City Reservoir, is unaccounted for, however.

Shrout said 10 percent to 15 percent of water loss typically occurs because the authority must use water from the system to produce water. Still, even after factoring in that expected number, annual water losses of close to 45 percent raise a red flag.

“That’s high in terms of any organization’s operation,” he said. “We need to be as efficient an organization as we can be.”

There are two types of water losses the authority is attempting to identify.

The first type is “real” loss, which is water lost due to breaks in mains, service lines and hydrants, as well as leaks in storage tanks and any kind of water escape from the authority’s water-treatment and distribution systems.

Real losses require the authority to withdraw, treat and distribute greater volumes of water — with the costs being passed on to the authority’s 1,300 business, residential, commercial and public accounts.

See the Journal's Thursday, April 29th edition for full story.

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