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Peru Utilities projects may start this month

BY CAROLINE EGGERS - ceggers@perutribune.com

About $600,000 worth of plastic polymers are sitting on site at Peru Utilities right now, according to Peru Utilities General Manger Joshua Chance.

These pieces are advanced water meters, which Peru Utilities will begin installing this year as part of a $4.4 million project to upgrade both their water and electric metering infrastructure.

The new utility meters will allow customers to check their electricity and water usage in real time, and set up budget alerts to ensure that they don’t exceed a certain amount of power each month – which can help customers keep their bills lower and improve water and electricity conservation.

Over the next month, Peru Utilities will begin replacing the larger, three to eight-inch water meters at commercial and industrial locations, Chance said. 

And towards the end of February, they will install base stations for the new systems, and will soon after begin testing the system with the individual electric and water meters.

Once they have established that the system is operational, then they will “go full force” installing the new meters at all residential homes, Chance said.

They expect to wrap the advanced metering installation towards the end of September or October.

Also happening soon: work on the series of citywide water improvement projects totaling about $8.4 million. These could begin as early as the end of this month – depending on the level of frost still on the ground at that time. 

The first project scheduled is the replacement of one-inch and two-inch pipes that inadequately deliver water to multiple homes. Lines running through the Oak Dale area, and near Tyler Street and North Water Street, may be the first areas serviced.

Peru Utilities also plans on removing and replacing any of these lines within their service area that they discover contain lead as a free service to Peru citizens, with the homeowner’s permission – and within the scope of the project.

As part of the second major water project, Peru Utilities will reroute the 16-inch main that currently runs underneath Peru High School to underneath the school’s ancillary practice field, Chance said.

They plan on initiating that work during the student’s spring breaks, and wrapping up during summer vacation to avoid any practice interruptions, he said. 

Successful completion of each project could mean better water pressure, a reduced risk of losing water during power outages, and flood-safety improvements for Peru residents, Chance said.