Water Meter Replacement Program Frequently Asked Questions
Learn more about the water meter replacement program by viewing the frequently asked questions below. If you have any further questions, please reach out us by emailing
[email protected] or calling 905-895-5193. Please note that having a working water meter is mandatory under the Town's Water Meter By-law 2017-49.
What is the water meter replacement program?
The water meter replacement program was approved by Newmarket Council in 2016. The program's goal is to replace or upgrade water meters for approximately 25,000 households and 1,000 businesses. At this time, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Town will only be conducting work that does not require the installer to enter the home. Approximately 7,000 households will be eligible for a water meter upgrade.
The new/upgraded water meters will allow for wireless two-way communication between the Town and the water meter to help ensure increased accuracy when it comes to water meter readings, eliminate the need to have staff read water meters manually, assist the Town in analyzing trends in water usage, and help the Town to better identify leaks and losses due to flow issues before they become a larger issue, which can lead to higher water bill costs.
How will I be affected?
Water Meter Upgrades
If your property is eligible for a
water meter upgrade (approximately 7,000 households and businesses), you will receive a letter in the mail indicating your eligibility. No action is required on your end as the WAMCO installer will be visiting your property on the indicated week to complete the upgrade. You do not need to be home during this time as all work will be completed outside of your home. Eligible properties for a water meter upgrade are generally water meters that are less than 10 years old.
There are no service disruptions when this work is being completed. The upgraded water meter will remain on the same account number with Newmarket Hydro.
Water Meter Replacements
All remaining households that do not qualify for a water meter upgrade will have their water meter replaced. Eligible households will recieve a letter in the mail indiciating their eligibility. Approximately 18,000 households will have their water meter replaced. This work is expected to take place during the second quarter of 2022.
When will my water meter be upgraded/replaced?
Households will be chosen on an area-by-area basis. Once your area has been chosen, you will receive a letter in the mail indicating your eligibility. Residents eligible for
water meter upgrade do not need to be home as all work will be completed outside of your home. Eligible properties for a water meter upgrade are generally water meters that are less than 10 years old. There are no service disruptions when this work is being completed. The upgraded water meter will remain on the same account number with Newmarket Hydro.
Residents eligible for a
water meter replacement
will be required to book an in-person appointment with the Town's contractor WAMCO within seven days of recieving their eligibility letter. Appointments can be made at on
WAMCO's booking website
or by calling 1-833-926-2626. An adult (18+ years old) is
required to be at home for the duration of the appointment.Please wait until you receive a letter in the mail before booking an appointment. Installers are working in certain areas of Town and are not able to deviate from the scheduled routes.
What are the benefits of a new water meter?
This water meter replacement program is necessary to ensure improved remote communication between your water meter and the Town’s water meter infrastructure. Other benefits of this Program include, but are not limited to:
- The ability for the Town to conduct remote water meter readings
- No physical visits will be required to obtain water meter readings which will result in saved time and improved efficiencies.
- Improved water meter reading accuracy
- If the resident's water meter was previously over-registering or under-registering, the new water meter will now measure the water usage accurately.
- The future ability for the Town to identify leaks and losses within the system before they become a larger issue and
- The future ability for residents to track water usage through an online portal
Will my water bill go up because of the new water meter?
Water meter upgrades may result in a change in your water bill due to water usage being measured more accurately. If your meter was previously under registering usage, you may see a slight increase.
If your water meter readings were previously estimated, you may see an increase or decrease to your water bill.
What health and safety protocols are in place during COVID-19 for WAMCO installers?
WAMCO installers are required to participate in a daily health screening before heading for work and follow all health protocols set out by the Province of Ontario.
WAMCO installers will be maintaining a distance of at least 6ft/2m at all times. If you'd like the WAMCO installer to wear a mask/or face covering please let the installer know.
Can I refuse to have my water meter upgraded/replaced during the COVID-19 pandemic?
The Water Meter Replacement Program is a mandatory Program that requires all households in Newmarket to participate. Having a working water meter is mandatory under the
Town's Water Meter By-law 2017-49.
To ensure the safety of both the installer and resident, WAMCO installers will be following strict health and safety protocols set out by Public Health authorities and will be subject to a daily health and safety protocols set out by Public Health authorities and will be subject to daily health screening before reporting to work.
How do I identify a WAMCO employee?
WAMCO installers will be carrying photo ID with both WAMCO and the Town of Newmarket logos, be in uniform with the WAMCO logo (hat and shirt) and
be travelling in a vehicle with both WAMCO and Town of Newmarket logos. Please see the image as reference.
All entry into homes is arranged is appointment only. The Town is aware of sales people going door-to-door to offer water, hydro or other in-home services. If you suspect fraud, please call York Regional Police's non-emergency line at 1-866-876-5423.
Why is the Town conducting the water meter replacement program?
Existing water meters are reaching end of their lifecycle and are using outdated technology to measure and communicate water usage. The new water meters will result in increased measurement accuracy and automatically communicate water usage to the Town without sending water meter operators to read the water meters. The new water meters have the ability to communicate how they are functioning (low battery, stale meter, communication issues), which will allow the Town to perform desk investigations before requesting field investigations. This will provide the Town the ability to be aware of potential issues before calls come in.
How long will it take to complete the water meter upgrade/replacement?
In most cases, a
water meter upgrade
will take less than five minutes to complete. One staff member will upgrade the existing meter. After some time has passed, a second installer will come to conduct a check to ensure the new upgraded water meter is communicating properly.
Water meter replacements will take anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes to complete. Residents may experience water use disruption that can last between 10-30 minutes.
What do I need to prepare prior to my appointment for a water meter replacement?
For water meter replacements (in-house appointments)
, please ensure
the area where your water meter is located is clear. Water meters are generally located inside your home near the main shut-off valve where the water service lines enter your home – usually in the basement. The new water meter will require an area about 14 inches wide, 14 inches high and 6 inches deep. This will allow space for the new water meter and any necessary plumbing fittings.
If you have a finished basement and the water meter is located behind drywall or a panel, the WAMCO installer will cut a small section to gain access to the main shut-off valve, or if you prefer, you can cut it yourself. After the water meter is installed, you can cover the hole yourself or the installer will use a carpentry box. The water meter may require maintenance in the future, therefore the hole cannot be permanently covered.
Are there any health hazards associated with the water meter reading technology?
The Town's new water meter readers (installed outside of the home) transmit information using radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) signals to let Newmarket Hydro know how much water a household or business is using. The EMF produced is non-ionizing radiation and complies with the standards established for
There are no health risks from exposure to the water meter reading device. Your exposure to radiofrequency EMF from smart meters is very low. This is because of the following reasons:
- The water meter readers emit relatively low power signals since it is being powered by a battery that will last at least 20 years. Therefore, the water meter reader will go to sleep after transmitting.
- There is distance between your body and water meter readers since it is normally located outside of the home.
- The water meter readers transmit data in short bursts, not continuously (one transmission every four hours for a total of 6 transmission per day).
- When the water meter readers are not transmitting a signal, they do not emit radiofrequency EMF.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has established rules requiring facilities to comply with radio frequency (RF) exposure and set limit frequencies of 300kHz to 100 GHz.
The new water meter readers RF is less than commonly used devices like baby monitors or cordless phones.
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