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Water-Related News

Aging water meters, leaks cost Apopka $1.2 million, audit shows

Many of Apopka’s “smart” water meters apparently can’t read.

An audit ordered by the Apopka City Council last fall blamed the failing high-tech meters for the city’s inability to account for 750 million gallons of water piped to residential and business customers in 2016. The lost water represents 26.1 percent of drinking water distributed by the city and is enough to fill 1,136 Olympic-size pools. The audit estimated the city lost $1.2 million in revenue in 2016 from meter failures and system leaks.

“It’s a costly infrastructure problem,” said Joe Kilsheimer, whose four-year term as Apopka mayor ended Tuesday when his successor Bryan Nelson was sworn in.

The city’s consumptive water-use permit with the St. Johns River Management District says “unaccounted for” water cannot exceed 10 percent. St. Johns spokeswoman Danielle Spears said the agency sampled audits from a handful of Central Florida cities with smart meters — including Casselberry, Ocoee, Sanford and Winter Park — and each showed less than 10 percent water loss.