Park City Municipal is reminding those who use their water service of an option that could save customers money. The Water department also did an upgrade this summer that should save the city around $100,000 a year.
Park City Water Resources Manager Jason Christensen reminds customers of Park City Water that they can receive alerts via email, text or automated phone call when a leak is detected at their homes.
“All of our customer meters are hooked up to a radio. That radio reads the meter every hour and sends that information back to us. We have a website where any of our customers can sign up. Once you’ve signed up on that website if we see data that indicates a leak, we can send you an alert. We kind of view it as a win-win. It helps us save water and it also helps our customer avoid an unexpected bill.”
Customers can enroll in the free service at parkcity.watersmart.com with a copy of your utility bill. The system was approved in 2009 by Park City Council and set up shortly after. Still after a decade, enrollment in the system is at 50%.
“For about 50% of our customers were able to automatically send those leak alert. We do also look through the data and try and find other leaks that happen and reach out to people, but it's a really hard thing for the city to step into that almost property manager role and understand what's going on at over 5,500 accounts. So, registering for that website is really something that we encourage.”
Christensen explains that the customer leaks are identified because they go through a meter. On the other side a distribution system link is harder to identify.
“So that's a leak out in our network of 120 miles of pipe and there's not a meter in front of that leak. So, most of the time we rely on that water surfacing or some other visible indication of a leak that we investigate.”
The past two summers the city has contracted to discover distribution leaks. That process requires listening to the pipes where certain sounds indicate that a leak is possible.
In 2018, using the technology the city found about 300 gallons of water per minute leaking. Fixing those leaks in 2018 is estimated to save the city $160,000 a year. The success of the 2018 project encouraged follow-up this year.
“They listened to 1,000 services in town. Service is the line from the water main up to the water meter. They listened to about 1,000 service lines and we think we found around 100 gallons-per-minute of water loss, of leaks, based on that work this year.”
Christensen says that stopping the 100 gallons per minute leaks will save the city $100,000 a year in operational costs to the city. The dollar amount saved by customers is higher due to retail rates. In 2019 the city paid $20,000 to have the 1,000 service lines listened to.
“It’s a great project for us, even when you add the price of repair it has a really quick repayment window. I haven't calculated 2019’s repayment window, but 2018’s repayment window including the repair was about 1.5 years.”