News and Updates

Saint Paul Regional Water Services is implementing a new, radio-read, water metering system throughout its service area.

The new radio-read, water meter system will bring efficiency to meter reading and billing operation and eliminate estimated bills due to inaccessibility.

Driving by homes and businesses to get meter readings will be more convenient for our customers and less labor intensive for the utility, providing cost savings.

How Does it Work?
The new water metering system incorporates an off-the-shelf, battery-operated radio transmitter onto the water meter.

The water meter, with its integrated radio, transmits a relatively weak radio frequency signal, producing radio frequency waves many times lower than many other everyday items found in homes, such as cell phones, baby monitors, and wireless routers.

The radio is powered by a single “D” cell battery, which powers a signal that lasts a mere 7 milliseconds (0.007 seconds).

The transmission, which contains only the unique meter number and the meter reading, is transmitted every 14 seconds, resulting in 45 seconds of transmission a day. It does not transmit at all during the remaining 23 hours and 59 minutes a day.

How is it Regulated?
This type of radio transmitter operates within the 902-928 MHz unlicensed radio frequency spectrum and is governed by the Federal Communications Commission.

The meters have been tested in accordance with Title 47, Part 15 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations and have been certified by the FCC.
This radio frequency is a type of non-ionization radiation. It should not be confused with ionizing radiation also referred to as radioactivity.

Find out more about the FFC and radio frequency

All of the facts known about this type of water meter indicate that is a well-governed technology, available for decades and in use in more than 9 million homes. Including radio-based meters in the gas and electric industry as well, more than 100 million such devices are in use.

New Technology Brings the Uncertainty of Change
Even so, for our customers, this is a new technology. Change can often be met with fear and uncertainty. There are dozens of websites devoted to presenting a host of hearsay and anecdotal information and select portions of factual reports regarding radio-read meters.
It is important for each person to evaluate and determine the legitimacy of such messages on his/her own.

What Science Says
Saint Paul Regional Water Service understands that, according to the Federal Communications Commission, the Electric Power Research Institute, and the World Health Organization, radio frequency signals produced by radio-read meters or other such wireless networks have shown no occurrences of adverse long- or short-term health effects.

The WHO’s conclusion is that: “Considering the very low exposure levels and research results collected to date, there is no convincing scientific evidence that the weak RF (radio frequency) signals from base stations and wireless networks cause adverse health effects.”

WHO report on Eletromagnetic fields and public health--wireless technologies

Project to be Complete by 2013
More than 29,000 metering systems in Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights, and the northwest corner of Saint Paul have been installed since the project began in October of 2010. When completed, all 94,000 meters in our system will be replaced.

Project Update

The $18 million project is being funded by a low-interest loan from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.