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Woburn to fund $6m installation of new water meters

Facing a state deadline, the Woburn City Council on Tuesday approved by a 6-3 vote a request by Mayor Scott D. Galvin to borrow $6 million for a residential water meter project.

Woburn is required to purchase and install meters in all homes by 2015 under a 2006 administrative consent order that then-mayor Thomas L. McLaughlin negotiated with the state Department of Environmental Protection to address deficiencies in the city’s water system.

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A timetable established when the order was revised in 2008 gave Woburn until August 2011 to authorize funding for the meters. That deadline was moved at the city’s request to May 21 and then to June 19 after aldermen voiced concerns with the funding request and expressed a need for more time to weigh it.

Besides fullfilling the state order, Galvin has said the new system will allow the city to accurately measure water use, encourage conservation, and better identify leaks.

The residential meters that were previously installed have not been used for at least two decades. All residents currently pay a flat fee for their water service. The City Council will determine how the city structures its water rates once the new meters are installed. Also still to be determined is whether residents will be charged fees for meter installation.

John Laidler can be reached at
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