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City Of Bloomington Utilities To Propose Measures To Reinforce Backflow Prevention And Expedite Smart Meter Installation Wednesday

Last updated on Tuesday, December 11, 2018

(BLOOMINGTON) - At Wednesday’s meeting, Bloomington City Council members are scheduled to consider two City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU) matters: changes to the local ordinance concerning the prevention of backflow and a resolution to approve financing for the upcoming Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project.

Backflow, also known as cross connection, is the unwanted flow of water in the reverse direction. It can be a serious health risk if contamination of potable water with non-potable water occurs.

While the current ordinance has measures in place to protect the municipal drinking water supply, the proposed changes would allow for better enforcement of the requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency and Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Most residential water customers are not affected by the backflow ordinance.

Backflow prevention devices routinely serve manufacturing plants, food service establishments, and irrigation systems. Fire hydrants are also regulated by the backflow ordinance.

The second agenda item for City Council is a request to approve an equipment lease-purchase for the purchase and installation of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system for homes and businesses throughout the service area.

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Pictured: Backflow prevention device at Dillman Road Wastewater Treatment Plant. Photo by Jon Callahan

Approval of the financing mechanism will allow CBU to shorten a five-year timeline to install meters and base stations to a little more than one year. A more modernized metering system will enable automated readings and will enhance Utilities' ability to respond to infrastructure issues more efficiently.

Customers will have access to more detailed water usage information, allowing for awareness of potential leaks and the ability to make more informed decisions on managing water consumption.

Beyond its application for water metering, the AMI system offers added value as a high-security communications backbone for smart city applications. Once base stations are installed, the transmission network can serve to distribute data recorded by devices across the city - from parking meters to street lights - making delivery of City services more efficient.

The Utilities Service Board recommended both proposals in a November meeting. Having first considered the proposals at their December 5 meeting, Council will hear a second reading and public discussion Wednesday, with the final vote scheduled for December 19.

The full agenda for these meetings is posted on the Council's webpage.

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