MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County Water/Wastewater Department is making significant progress on the installation of 2,900 water meters in the Apple Valley-Howard area and should be completed this fall, department Director Jeff Pickrell informed Knox County Commissioners Tuesday.

So far, with the installation of residential meters having started May 4, a total of 331 meters had been installed by UMS as of Monday, he said. UMS is the company the county hired for the work in partnership with Johnson Controls, which supplied the type of meters used. The numbers installed to date include 156 installed last week.

Two small teams of two to three workers are doing the installations, and another small crew is being added, Pickrell said. UMS, Johnson Controls and county water/wastewater officials meet every two weeks to chart installation progress. The state-of-the-art meters send signals to a computerized system that chart not only the amount of water being used but whether there are problems such as continuous water flow, which would indicate a leak such as a toilet leak.

Pickrell also said the department continues to have serious ongoing problems with residents who keep sending “flushable” wipes into their toilets, which are clogging wastewater pump intakes. Although the pumps have grinders that can shred some material, the amount of wipes flushed is considerable.

“It’s costing us lots of man-hours,” he told commissioners. “We’ve had some overtime associated with that.”

Commissioners said they would send out alerts on social media telling customers not to send the wipes down their toilets. The cost of replacing one pump intake is around $1,500, Pickrell said.

In action taken Tuesday, commissioners further:

•Approved a bid award for Knox County asphalt patching material for 2020 to Small’s Asphalt Paving, Inc., in the amount of $336,090. The county engineer’s estimate was $365,000. Mid-Ohio Paving had provided a lower bid but the asphalt materials to be used did not meet the Ohio Department of Transportation requirements, county Administrator Jason Booth said.

•Approved a memorandum of understanding between commissioners, the Knox County Sheriff, and Mount Vernon Municipal Court for the installation of a Municipal Court Bail Bond Kiosk in the jail lobby. The kiosk, which will accept cash and credit card payments, is intended to “facilitate the timely release of prisoners between 4 p.m. and 8 a.m. on weekdays, and on weekends and holidays,” according to the agreement, for those who have committed misdemeanor offenses. Sheriff’s jail personnel will set the bond amounts according to the municipal court bond schedule. The commissioners and sheriff agree to provide electricity and internet connectivity, while the municipal court is responsible for kiosk operation and maintenance.

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Larry Di Giovanni: 740-397-5333 or larry@mountvernonnews.com and on Twitter, @mountvernonnews