The cause of the Village of West Salem’s water losses may have finally been pinpointed.

During the September regular meeting of the village’s board of trustees, defunct water meters were named as the reason for lost water and sewage revenue for the village. This revelation came to light when one trustee read the monthly water report to the rest of the board.

“I’m just going to cut to the most interesting part,” said Trustee Lisa Taylor. “We had an average daily lost water revenue of $82.19, and had a daily average lost revenue on sewer on $30.75.

“That’s $112 a day.”

That amounts to $3,000–3,360 per month, or $36,000–40,000 per year in lost revenue for the village, should those numbers stay consistent. Taylor stated that the source of the problem is the outdated water meters in the village.

“Several years ago, we had a firm come from Evansville,” she recalled. “They told us our problem was our water meters.”

Some meters within the village limits may be 40 years old, the board was told. Water meters at that time were designed to last 10 years, while newer models can last as long as 20 years.

“By the time we get done replacing them we could rest a little while,” Taylor explained. “But then we’ll have to start again.”

The village will focus on replacing meters for the its highest water usage customers first, working its way down to the lesser users water.

“If their meters were bad, we’re going to start reaping benefits from the new meters,” said Taylor.

According to trustee, this project should be a major focus of the village going forward.

“We’re letting money go down the drain by not replacing meters,” stated Taylor. “We do not need to let this fall by the wayside.

“To anybody who will be new on the board next year, this needs to be a priority.”

Check out the rest of the story in this week's Navigator.