Rather than face a fine of up to $1000 per day for non-compliance, Woburn’s City Council voted to borrow $6M to implement a residential water metering program. They city was obligated to move forward with a residential water metering program based on an Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MA DEP) Administrative Consent Order agreed to Mayor Thomas McLaughlin in 2006. The original consent order required the city to approve and schedule the installation of residential water meters within 120 days.
In August of 2008, MA DEP found Woburn in violation of the consent order. The city was able to get the original consent order revised, allowing more time. But time was running out, if the city hadn’t approved a plan to install meters, it could have faced fines of over $350k annually.
There is more at stake than avoiding fines. With the meters in place, the city will be able to accurately measure consumption, promote conservation and find leaks. Additionally, Woburn residents reportedly use, on average, nearly twice the amount of water, per person, per day, compared to cities which meter their water.
cc photo courtesy of Elizabeth Thomson/Flickr