Bedford is launching a major project to replace 90 percent of the city’s water lines and upgrade all residential and business customers to smart meters.
Public Works Director Kenny Overstreet said work is already underway to replace the water lines, and work should start in about two months to replace the water meters.
Overstreet said the city is working to replace old cast iron water mains that often break.
“There are a couple of mains that are 60 years old. They often break, and some may be leaking and we may not know it. It’s a loss of water to the city,” he said.
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Replacing the aging water lines and outdated meters will help with conservation and with tracking water use, he said.
Bedford purchases water from the Trinity River Authority and also has several wells.
Replacing the water lines could take 10 years.
Overstreet said the city will work to replace the water lines when road work is also being done so that the streets won’t have to be torn up twice.
Bedford will replace the water mains and the “service lines” that run to the meters, but not the lines between the meter to the homes or businesses, Overstreet said.
The city is also replacing the outdated water meters with an automatic meter reading system so that data can be sent using existing cell towers. Approximately 15,000 meters will be replaced.
Overstreet said customers will eventually be able to track their water use information on the internet, which will help with conservation.
The meter replacement will start in about two months, and water customers will receive information about the meters and door hangers to notify them when workers will do the replacement. Overstreet told residents during a recent town hall meeting that most meter replacements will take around 30 minutes.
The cost of the water system improvements is calculated in the water rate, he said.
In 2015, the Texas Water Development Board awarded Bedford $90 million in low-interest loans to replace the outdated water lines and meters. In 2013, voters approved a statewide constitutional amendment to establish the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas so that cities and other entities could make improvements to their water systems to help with conservation efforts.