PIQUA — The Underground Utilities Department gave a presentation Friday morning on projects underway in the department, inviting the Piqua City Commission along with the heads of other city departments. Mayor Kazy Hinds and Commissioner John Martin attended as well as City Manager Gary Huff and other city officials.
“We’ve got a few projects in the works right now,” Superintendent Shane Johnson of the Underground Utilities Department said. “One of them is our AMI project.”
The Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) project will replace all of the water and electric meters in the city that will allow the meters to be read remotely versus in person. Johnson had a water meter on display and demonstrated what meter readers currently have to do manually to read a water meter, which requires that they have physical access to the meter.
The new meters through the AMI projects will automatically send readings a number of times each day. “You’re getting meter readings six times a day,” Johnson said. “There’s no misreadings anymore.”
This will also allow for leak detection.
The project will begin with the Southview Neighborhood, for which the Underground Utilities Department has approximately 2,500 of the new meters. The meters, both for the residential homes and the commercial businesses, are lead-free. This phase of the project is expected to be finished by August.
The AMI technology is through Aclara Technologies, LLC, which the commission authorized in November to install for the entire city at a cost not to exceed $4,030,436, which includes a contingency of $775,000.
“The other project we’ve got going on is the GIS project,” Johnson said.
This project was also approved in November when the city awarded a contract to EMH&T for the development of the city’s underground utilities’ geographic information system (GIS) pilot project. The project is creating a comprehensive mapping system as part of a cohesive GIS database. The city currently has an established stormwater mapping system, but the city needs to include layers for water, wastewater, and distribution infrastructure. The total cost approved was not to exceed $96,700.
“We’re right on target,” Johnson said, adding that the project should be complete by June.
Johnson also noted that the project includes gather flow rate data, such as for the various fire hydrants through the city, which will aid the Piqua Fire Department.
“We recently purchased a plotter scanner,” Johnson said.
Assistant Superintendent Justin Jamison explained how this will allow them to scan in and digitize information that they have gathered on existing water, wastewater, and distribution infrastructure throughout the city.
“It’s really going to aid us in being more efficient,” Jamison said.
Johnson also gave an update on the current location of the Underground Utilities Department on Bridge Street.
“We moved in about four years ago,” Johnson said. “It’s been a great asset.”
Johnson noted that they have been able to consolidate all of their inventory into the building, which Huff noted is owned by the U.S. Department of Energy. Johnson also said that this location will also be going on the National Historic Registry.
Fire Chief Brent Pohlschneider also noted that the fire department also benefits from this location, as they can do training exercises there.
Administrative Assistant Maria Weaver spoke at the end of the presentation, commending the approximately 10-12 employees at the Underground Utilities Department with maintaining 110 miles of water mains, 130 miles of sanitary lines, and 130 miles of stormwater lines within the city.
“They’re just hard workers,” Weaver said. “They’re just tremendous individuals.”
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