Cary water meter access?

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farmerbw

Brian
Corporate Member
Anyone have any experience with the new water meters and boxes that Cary upgraded to recently? Specifically what tool/key does it take to open them and does anyone sell them? The one I've got is oval shaped and has what looks like a skeleton key opening on one edge. The TOC public utilities site still has directions on opening the older style ones I'm accustomed to that you just pry up and lift off so that's obviously no help for me.

It seems there is a leak somewhere at the townhouse that we rent out and when I went by last night to see if I could locate it I discovered that I couldn't open the meter housing to watch the meter after cutting off the inside shutoff valve to isolate the leak to the feeder line. I checked all the toilets, faucets, appliance connections, and all the lines in the crawlspace and found no leaks or signs of water. The tenant called public works on Friday afternoon and they said they would have someone check into it and call her back. When they called her back they told her that there were instances of there being 100 gal/hr usage on some days, turns out some of those were days when they weren't even home to use water, and that they confirmed that the leak wasn't at the meter or the cities side of the line. Of course this was all done remotely and no one was sent out to physically check the meter even though they indicated to the tenant that someone would be sent out. In doing some poking around on the new meters I discovered that they could monitor usage down to the minute and that supposedly the system is set up to detect and notify about leaks. It claims to do that by alarming if there isn't at least 1 hr in a 24 hr period with 0 water usage so I'm not sure how the system didn't catch and report it. Maybe they haven't fully implemented that piece yet? According to the tenant her normal usage is about 3,000 gal/mth and her last statement usage was almost 7,300 gal/mth. :swoon:

While trying to open the meter box, I discovered several things.
1) when they upgraded the meters and boxes a few months ago they didn't remark the covers with the unit #'s and it's been so long since we've lived there that I don't remember which one was even ours. I went with the assumption that they were connected in the order that the units are lined up from left to right. I had no way to confirm that since I couldn't open them to verify by meter # on the bill or by cutting off the water on the one that I thought was mine and checking.
2) Of the 6 meters in the row where ours is 5 of the boxes are full to the top with water, the one that's uphill from the other 5 just has a little water visible in the bottom. The TOC claims on their website that it's normal for meter boxes to be have water in them due to low water table or rain water (maybe not likely since we've not had much rain there lately?). I'm hoping this indicates that the leak is close to the meter box and will thus be easier/cheaper to fix, but I'll have to wait until the plumber I usually use gets back in town and can take a look at it Mon or Tue.
3) The meter is around 25-30 ft from the house and I didn't find any wet spots or indications of an in ground leak other than the water in the meter boxes. When we had a leak at our house in Raleigh we didn't have any signs even though the plumber we used then indicated the leak was about 600-700 gal/day. I noticed after they started digging up the mainline and found the leak was at the coupling going through the basement wall that the fire thorn bushes in that immediate area had 6-8 foot shoots of new growth on them. Maybe from all the extra water they had been getting from the leak?

Sorry to have gotten long winded, but if anyone has any experiences or pitfalls with these I'd greatly appreciate them sharing.

Brian.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
Brian, it isn't unusual, maybe almost always for Cary's meter boxes to have water in them. Manual meter reader usually has hand pump with him. Care to guess who is the largest breeder of misquitoes in Wake County. Hint #1 Town of Cary, and there is no hint #2. I know you can dig a hole the same depth about 10 feet away from meter, and it won't fill with water. I can't give you an answer of releasing the lid, but I know the old boxes had the skeleton key shaped hole. Check out "Ford Water Meters, as they are the old box manufacturer. Most likely Town went with the same brand on the new to keep from replacing boxes along with lids. I maintain a rental that about five years ago, Town replaced the meters and just left a great big hole in the front yard. When it rains, we have a puddle about eight feet in diameter and about five inches deep over the boxes. These boxes are located on a slope, so there is no excuse for this. When we get a new tennant, and they request a roll out trash can, it's easiest to wait for trash day and steal one from another street:rotflm:.
 

farmerbw

Brian
Corporate Member
Bruce, thanks for the info on the boxes. They may have only replaced the lids when they upgraded the meters since the area where the boxes are doesn't look like it's been disturbed for quite some time and the meters were just swapped out back in April I believe. I was hoping that the presence of water at the meters was good news as far as locating the leak, but it sounds like that may not be the case. :BangHead: I'll wait to hear back from my plumber and see how bad it gets after he gets there.

Thanks again,
Brian.
 
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