Meter Reading Division

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City of McDonough features a high-powered radio frequency transmitter available for use with drive-by automatic meter reading systems.

Radio Read offers a choice of meter reading options. A handheld unit can be used for reading Radio Read equipped meters, we are currently using a powerful vehicle transceiver which offers greater range and can be used in any car or truck at any time to read meters as the vehicle drives past Radio Read equipped meters.

The Meter Reading Division is responsible for reading 4,950 meters each month. The Division is also responsible for connecting and disconnecting water service, installing and removing meters, temporary water shut off for plumbing problems, delinquent accounts and temporary water service, as well as rechecking readings based on a high or low consumption or when requested by customer service.

City of McDonough provides service and maintenance up to, and including, the meter. Once water exits the meter, it enters the customer’s privately owned system and area of responsibility. If City of McDonough staff observes potential leaks or other problems with a customer’s plumbing, we notify the customer. However, the customer is responsible for assessing and making any necessary repairs or calling a qualified plumber to do so on their behalf.

Most residential meters are positive displacement meters. These accurate meters fit into pipes from five-eighths to two inches in diameter. In these meters, the movement of the piston or a disk by water triggers a magnetic set of gears that drive a dial around a face on a face plate called a "register." The dial turns, triggering an odometer-type meter that keeps track of units (gallons, cubic feet or other measure) used.

Plumbing Emergencies

Anyone with a plumbing emergency such as broken pipes on private property or within the building causing flooding or damage to the property may request help form the City to stop the water at the meter. The customer may contact City Hall at 770-957-3915 during office hours or 770-957-1702 after hours.

Radio Read Operation: Model #520R unit is located at the water meter and designed to be installed under the lid. The MXU (meter transceiver unit) eliminates errors associated with manual reading methods. When used with a vehicle interrogation unit, it provides two-way communications between the reading unit and system equipped utility meters. The MXU connected to the meter receives an activation wake up signal from the interrogation unit. The MXU then obtains and transmits all of the meter’s encoder information which includes the identification number and meter reading. After the interrogation unit receives valid data, it transmits and acknowledgment signal back to the MXU which returns it to the power down mode. This saves battery life and eliminates unnecessary radio transmissions.

Radio Read Integrity: When interfaced with an absolute encoder, Radio Read system meter reading is virtually error free. The meter read is taken from the actual positions of the encoder’s odometer wheels to ensure valid up-to-date readings. Any non-reads are immediately indicated on the meter reading equipment. This information is generated on management reports when the data is downloaded at the end of the reading cycle.

How to Read Your Meter
  • Select a day to take an initial water meter reading.
  • Write down the numbers you see on the meter odometer. Example: 0076400
  • After a period of time has passed (a day or week, for example), read your meter again at approximately the same time of day. Example: 0083300
  • Subtract your first reading from the second. This is your water usage for the period. Example:
  • 0083300 - 0076400 = 6900
  • The 6900 figure indicates that 6900 gallons of water have been used during the time period between the two readings. The average residential customer uses about 7,000 gallons per month.