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Springdale Residents Divide Over New "Smart Meters"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The 'smart meter' attached to the pipes in Connie Fleck's basement is a high tech way to measure her water usage digitally, it then transmits that data wirelessly to the utility.

Or in this case the Springdale Water Authority. Before the new meters, manual readings took five-to-seven days once a month.

"We now can read every meter in town in less than a half-hour, so there's a substantial savings," said Springdale Council Street and Water Chairman John Molnar.

Installing the meters cost the borough between $350,000and $400,000

The borough mandated that all of its 1,750 residential and nearly 60 business customers be using the "smart water" system by Aug. 30. Initially, 22 families refused to have meters installed, that number is down to two and they've had their water shut off for nearly two weeks.

Cindee Zlacki is one of the holdouts. She worries that the "smart meters" microwave radiation emissions might harm her family.

"I have two children who suffer from epilepsy, and their father, who is a veteran, also has numerous health factors," she said.
For now, Zlacki is hauling water twice a day, using one neighbor's hose for flushing toilets - and is getting her drinking water from Connie Fleck.

"I think it's a terrible, terrible ting - you have to have water, she has seven kids," Fleck said.

Molnar believes that Zlacki's concerns are unfounded because the microwaves will only be emitted once a month and that current research shows that the emissions are similar to other digital devices.

"Cell phones, TVs , Wi-Fi all emit the RF," he said.

The borough is standing firm: no new meter, no new water.

But Zlacki now has a document from a VA directing the borough to turn on the water immediately because of her husband's medical problems.

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