AMR wireless RF drive-by system helps with hurricane recovery for Cameron Parrish

Most remember 2005's Hurricane Katrina because of major damage in New Orleans, but little is focused on what Hurricane Rita wrought in western Louisiana. She caused wide spread damage with high water surge, flooding and winds with related tornados. In Cameron Parrish near the gulf coast, Rita's storm surge flooded the entire community with disastrous results. Afterward, one of the few things still working were the water meter systems from Master Meter...

Jun 13th, 2006

CAMERON PARRISH, LA, June 8, 2006 -- There were two major hurricanes that came through Louisiana in 2005. Most people remember the first, Katrina, because it caused major damage in New Orleans and displaced a portion of its population. But later Hurricane Rita caused heavy damage in western Louisiana. She caused wide spread damage with high water surge, flooding and winds with related tornados. In Cameron Parrish near the gulf coast, Rita's storm surge flooded the entire community with disastrous results. Building structures shifted, were pushed miles away, were smashed and washed away. Pipes and connections were fractured and ripped out of place.

When the news and weather reports started to track the hurricane, James Cox, the Cameron Parrish Waterworks Water General Manager, knew he had a major problem. The day after the storm passed through, displaced himself, he drove back to survey the damage and establish a plan he was going use to restore the water system and service to his customers. At the time, there were about 1,800 connections, most flooded in several feet of sea water.

Their water tower lost its water pressure caused by major leaks draining the water from the tower, so the objective was to close all the shut-off valves in the breached tributary areas and get his well pump station to pump water to the Cameron tower. That would establish the system's water pressure again. Then from the shut off valves to the customer meters to flush out the lines back to the meters so they could establish service for their customers.

According to James, "The only things that were working in the entire water system were the DIALOG 3G Wireless RF AMR water meters and Drive-By System from Master Meter." James continues, "The major reason we had installed the new 3G system to the water system was because it is a self contained unit and has no external wires. We asked around and found that if you had wires and a rodent problem, you would have cut wires. We have crawfish, moles and snakes and we liked the idea that the 3G is a self contained unit with no external wires and easy to put in the ground. We figured that if we were going to advance our system that much, we should get the best we could afford and Master Meter was our best choice and lower than their competition."

Labor cost for meter reading has gone down about two-thirds and our growth expansion has continued to 2600 customers. Cameron is now looking at a plan to take the complete system to a Master Meter drive-by system. If it worked during and after a hurricane while underwater, then it will work just fine everyday.

All of the meters were under water and later several feet of debris. It was like finding meters in the middle of a lake or a dump. Even when the water cleared several feet of debris and the hurricane modified terrain made it almost impossible to find the meters because everything had changed. One bright thing in this time of hard work and long hours was that the AMR meters could be located because they were signaling and their signal helped them to be found in a timely manner.

With the help of a few people outside of his staff, James was able to put more than a 1000 of his customers back in service within the first four of five days. "It wasn't potable water but they could flush the toilet, take a shower and that made a huge difference." James continues, "Today our community still continues to recover and grow because of the storm, but our water system plans are moving forward to serve our growing community."

Click here to learn more about the Dialog 3G-DS Multi-Jet Meters.

Master Meter (www.mastermeter.com), a leading water meter manufacturer specializing in AMR Wireless RF Solutions, offers a wide range of sizes, configurations and special application meters built to meet or exceed AWWA specifications. It's based in Mansfield, TX.

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