Silver City News
Residents express concerns about new water meters
SILVER CITY >> Silver City residents expressed their concerns on Tuesday about possible health issues arising from the smart water meters the town plans on installing.
“The World Health Organization has issued concerns about the harmful health effects of the radiation created by the meters,” said resident Eric Lynch. He noted that several communities in California have banned the automatic read meters due to health-related concerns.
Lynch was speaking to the Silver City Town Council during their regular meeting on Tuesday.
The city recently approved financing to replace the city’s old water meters with electronic meters that broadcast the meter readings.
Smart meters automatically send usage information back to the product supplier, no longer requiring a person to go to each house and visually “read” the meter.
According to the American Cancer Society website, cancer.org, concerns have been raised about the safety of smart meters, mainly because they give off the same kinds of radiofrequency waves as cell phones and Wi-Fi devices.
Resident Alicia Drew called the electronic meters an “extreme environmental hazard.”
“Why not replace the meters with new analog meters, which we know have no harmful effects,” she asked.
Drew said the radiation from some meters has been linked to diseases including cancer, stroke, seizures and tumors.
“We’ve been working on the radio-read system for a while,” Town Manager Alex Brown said. “And we did extensive research looking at the various types of meters.”
Brown said when he was researching the electronic meters, he discovered that there can be physical effects from the radiation, and that is why he chose the particular model of meter that was selected.
According to the American Cancer Society website, the RF radiation produced by a smart meter has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, which can lead to heat but it can’t damage DNA directly.
RF radiation is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” according to the American Cancer Society.
This classification is based on the finding of a possible link in at least one study between cell phone use and a specific type of brain tumor.
Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk, according to the ACS website.
The American Cancer Society states that it is not clear what risk, if any, there might be from living in a home with a smart meter.
The World Health Organization has promised to conduct a formal assessment of the risks from RF exposure but this report is not yet available, according to the website.
“These meters pulse for a nanosecond every seven minutes, and they put out an non-ionizing signal,” Brown said. “Each day, there will be less than a quarter of a second’s worth of signal from the meter.”
Once a month the meter readers will travel the city streets, gathering information from the meters which will be submitted via radio bursts.
“These meters will also give us 90 days worth of data at a time, so we can show the customer what is going on with their water if there is a problem,” Brown said.
The city plans on financing the $4 million project with a low-interest New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department Qualified Energy Conservation Bond.
The new meters will be more effective and will leak less, saving the town money and conserving water.
Brown said he was happy to discuss the new meters with the public and he can be contacted at 575-534-6358.