Chicago’s aggressive push to metered water came to a grinding halt on 28th June 2019 after testing found spikes of brain-damaging lead in more than 1 in 5 homes sampled, following the installation of a digital water meter. The Department of Water Management’s website states that, “To protect our residents, and especially children, we are going to stop installing water meters until we identify a solution”.
Meters with automatic meter reading (AMR) technology – in other words, smart meters – had been installed.
Its FAQ webpage on water quality reveals that the indication is “the installation of water meters is the issue, not the replacement of water mains”. The webpage also made it clear that the new meters don’t have lead in them.
So what could possibly have gone wrong? Is it possible that pulsed radiofrequencies in proximity to legacy lead pipes, or brass fixtures containing lead, are not ideal bedmates? There is anecdotal evidence that high frequency fields produced by antennas can affect corrosion rates. Or is another cause behind the worrying levels of increased lead in Chicago homes’ water following the installation of a meter?
SSMA asks how does this bode for the rollout of smart water meters across Australia? Might the technology and deployment methods being used here also cause increased lead in drinking water? In addition to the community and the environment being exposed to more electro-smog as a result of hourly transmissions between smart water meters and network gateways, and due to emissions from back-haul transmissions between network gateways and towers, are we also to be exposed to higher levels of lead in our water?
Some water utilities in Australia have already rolled out digital water meters with others, lemming-like, commencing rollouts or, like Melbourne’s City West Water, South East Water and Yarra Valley Water, continuing to undertake trials.
SSMA recommends that, as a matter of urgency, you contact your water authority and make your views known about smart water meters.
South East Water, like a number of other water utilities, claims that “Customers have told us they support upgrading our network to digital meters to help both the water utilities and customers manage our water more sustainably”.
SSMA asks if these customers would be equally supportive of digital meters if they were aware of the possibility of increased lead in their drinking water, in addition to the ramifications resulting from another layer of electro-pollution?
Previous posts that SSMA has done on the rollout of smart water meters include:
Victoria’s Minister for Water evades questions about smart water meters
Look out Victorian water customers – your utility may be rolling out smart meters!
Water authorities rolling out wireless smart meters!
Smart water meter “trials” have commenced!