Water meter upgrades

Western Canada’s measurement sales manager, Dennis Plican with ICONIX, a waterworks company, presented at council via video conference how they could help the town with upgrades to their water meters.

Plican offered the Badger Beacon system which is a cellular system.

“It means you’re not driving around any more or using a handheld or anything like that. All you’re going to do is install the endpoint into the home, connect it to the meter,” explained Plican. “It’s a really simple system. As soon as water runs through the meter, it will connect to the cellular.”

Around Coronation, they have the option between two cell towers within range just outside of town.

Plican hopes to have a 100 per cent or 99 per cent at the least in terms of connectivity when reaching these meters remotely.

The system can also determine if someone has been tampering with their meter as it gives individual ‘health’ stats.

The town hopes to have water meters and MXU’s for the purpose of reading meters electronically, installed over a five year period.

After a few discussions with neighbouring communities, Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Quinton Flint found that the Village of Veteran is replacing all meters and MXU’s over a shorter time frame of two years.

The Village of Consort is also looking at replacing its system over a more extended period as well with finances permitting.

The administration has sent out requests from a few different companies and has only received information from one so far.

However, their quote was very unorganized, and I have requested a re-quote.

If the (Federal Gas Tax) FGT is used, the municipality would have no choice but to replace the water meter and the MXU’s.

If the municipality only replaced the MXU’s, the FGT will not cover the costs.

MSI would, however, most of MSI is proposed to be allocated to paving projects.

Council approved the expenditure for the water meters.

Currently, this project would be recommended for a full replacement, either funded by reserves or GTF, with the assistance of the year loan payment presently coming to an end in October of 2020.

The reserves could be replaced within a matter of two and a half years if the municipality used both sources of funding.

Administration has been reviewing the current life cycle for the existing meters and feels that the municipality is potentially losing revenue with water meter miss-readings.

The current meter and MXU system are 17 to 19 years old.

The revenue can be lost over a period when the meters are near end of life.

While the meters wear out due to age, the percentage increases over time as well.

The main mechanical portions of the meters do become clogged with debris, residual, sediment and/or damaged.

The result is that mechanical components begin to fail or need to be cleaned and re-calibrated.

The other aspect is the meters themselves are becoming an outdated technology that was purchased in the 2000s.

The newer technologies that would replace the old SIRII meters would be a more advanced and accurate meter.

There are currently a few different options that the municipality can draw from KTI Offers the Sensus Iperls (electromagnetic pulse system), and Badger offers their style of electromagnetic pulse meters.

The newer electromagnetic plus meters provided by the two different companies offer  more accurate meter reads, while both have no internal moving mechanism parts.

The municipality currently has more than 50 sites within the municipality where meters are estimated due to the MXU’s failing or the meter being unresponsive.

Swimming pool

Administration has been closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such, has reached out to Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and Alberta Municipal Affairs.

The respective representatives have suggested that Coronation discuss the matter.

All recreational facilities and swimming pools are on the third level for the reopening schedule under the province.

As well, the Chief Medical Officer’s orders are still in effect.

Administration suggested that the town follow its guidance and regulations.

At this time, the recreation department will proceed with the maintenance program as in previous years.

The swimming pool can be kept empty until the decision is made to prepare for the swimming pool season.

CAO Flint noted the swimming pool can stand without water during the summer months but does require water during the winter months due to frost heaving.

If the swimming pool were to be filled at this time, it would require that all utilities be turned on and to have at least one staff member there maintain the facilities daily.

He also said that it takes roughly a week to get the boiler up to the proper temperature which must stay consistent for two days once reached for the pool to open.

“I think that’s the route we should go. Just get it cleaned, ready and if there is any repairs – do that. And just hold off on the complete fill for now,” said Mayor Mark Stannard.

The town would also be required that the swimming follows all the guidelines set out but the Chief Medical Officer and AHS once the restrictions have been lifted.

Lastly, the recreation department has been able to secure lifeguards for the pool regardless of the open date.

For repairs, the CAO will keep council up to date as to what needs repairing.

They don’t expect there to be many major issues as they had solved a large portion of it last year with the pool base being restructured with concrete work.

“It seems like that has held up with the water we kept up over the season, like over the winter months so it doesn’t seem to be leaking but we won’t really know until we get it cleaned out and have a good inspection on it done,” said CAO Flint.

“All the infrastructure of the pool is still really sound. We haven’t had any broken pipes or frozen lines or anything so the antifreeze system worked really well.”

Coun. Vickie Horkoff made a motion to prepare the pool for up to $2,500, otherwise, it will come back to council.

Council passed this motion agreeing that the recreation department begins preparations for opening the swimming pool, and ensure that all staff members and the resident follow the guidelines and regulations issued by the Chief Medical Officer and AHS.

Municipal projects

CAO Flint provided a large list of upcoming and potential municipal projects, curious as to what council holds as high priority and should be done within 2020.

This planning will be a part of the 2020 budget for the year.

Currently, the Provincial Government has provided the municipality with the 2020 MSI and Gas Tax Fund numbers.

Council passed a motion to accept four of the projects listed including the lift station, the country residential road repairs in front of the public works shop and the water meters.

The CAO was also directed to apply for a water grant to be put towards the water towers major repairs.

The residential roads require a two-year program, with year one being the rebuilding and compaction of the clay and the gravel.

The second year will then be allocated to the paving portions.

This will allow the road to be widened and to be adequately built to ensure that the paving will last longer, and drainage issues can be addressed.

At this time, it is unknown if the Minister of Municipal Affairs will be providing additional funding to the municipality, as they have stated additional funding will be ready for projects that are shovel ready.

The Water Tower Repairs TCA’s and Mapping is projected to cost a total of $101,084.

At this time, this project will need to be quoted and tendered out.

If the council so wishes. funding for this project will need to be built into the MSI, BMTG portions. 

Along with the GTF would cover a part of this cost.

The current need is to have the water tower removed to prevent further need for expensive repairs and maintenance costs.

The issue here is that the water tower will require an engineered lift certificate and will need to be tendered out as a whole project.

CAO Flint hoped this would be done as soon as possible.

However, reserves will have to cover the initial costs of this project or if the project were to be deferred until the 2021-year MSI could be used to complete this project.

This project could also be submitted to the Provincial Government as a shovel ready project and possibly receive some grant funding.

Currently, the Frontier lift station requires an upgrade as it has been more than 10 years since its end-of-life cycle and is always needing attention.

The lift station will require more piping, pumps, and SCADA systems to ensure it meets requirements for the 2020 standards.

This project will be expected to be funded 100 per cent from the water transmission reserves, over a five-year period.

The reserves would be built back up to ensure that any other lift stations needing attention are seen too or are replaced.

This project could also be submitted to the Provincial Government as a shovel ready project and possibly receive some grant funding, as it is an essential item.

The estimated cost for each lift station is $355,000 to $380,000. This would include the cost of engineering.


Terri Huxley

ECA Review

About the author

Terri Huxley

Terri grew up on a grain farm near Drumheller, Alberta with an eye for the beautiful and uncharted. Living in such a unique and diverse area has helped her become the photographer and reporter she is today.

Coming from the East Central region getting this newspaper on her dinner table growing up, it helped her understand the community she now serves.

In May 2019, Terri was awarded Alberta Weekly Newspaper Association (AWNA) Canada's Energy Citizens Photographic Awards Sports Action – First Place as well as first for the same sports action image nationally with the Canadian Community Newspaper Association (CCNA). Fast forward to 2020, she has won second in the same category for the AWNA.