Requirement for Water Meters

This document is to inform members of our community about the upcoming requirement for individual water meters and to begin discussion about how our community might begin implementation. This project is likely to be the most expensive and complex project ever undertaken by the Lost River Airport Association (LRAA)

The Requirement

The Lost River Airport water system is a Group “A” Municipal Water Purveyor. The wells and how much water we are allowed to draw is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE). On January 31, 2017, DOE will require all water systems in our classification to have individual service water meters installed and operational including related policies.

Implementation of this statewide program will be the responsibility of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH)

Water systems such as ours have permits issued by the DOE that allow us to withdraw a specific amount of water out of our wells each year. These limitations are designed to assure future adequate water for human consumption, agriculture and fisheries. To date this has not been enforced. However, steadily increasing pressure on the available supply of water, both locally and statewide, has necessitated enforcement of these limitations. The day will come when we have reached our annual water withdrawal limit, and stiff penalties for over usage will be levied on our association. Therefore DOE is requiring all water purveyors like us to install individual water meters in order to give us the tools to manage individual water use, which is necessary to manage overall system consumption.

The DOE is requiring water purveyors like our association to install individual water meters in order to give us tools to manage individual water use, which is necessary to manage the overall system consumption.

We have asked the DOE for verification of this requirement upon our association. We have received this clarification. The requirement is valid and real. Documentation of this requirement will be available for review at the member meeting.

The Timeline – Water meters due –January 31, 2017

  • 2013 & 2014
    Build the system design specs
    Determine the funding plan
    Develop installation policies and engineering
    Develop operational policies
  • Spring of 2015
    Design, policies, financing, and contactor agreements all in place.
  • Summer of 2015
    Installation of the first half of the individual meters.
  • Summer of 2016
    Installation of 2nd half of the individual meters.
  • January 31, 2017
    Water Meters must be in place working.

The Process

The work of digging and installing needs to begin in the spring of 2015 in order to allow time for the installation of about 180 meters. We are allowing ourselves two summers to accomplish this work. Our association needs to be ready for this work to begin at that time. Planning will be a critical part of meeting this requirement and minimizing the impact on our members.

In Conclusion

The end game here is to meet the statutory requirements of the Department of Health by installing water meters. Careful planning will make this project work. As much participation as is possible in decision making should be provided to the membership. The members should be kept up to date as much as possible through this process especially as it pertains to individual’s costs and when these costs will need to be collected.

Economy should be considered throughout but not at the cost of quality and future system dependability and operation.

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