Chesterfield County Utilities offers a residential companion meter that will charge for water consumption only, as opposed to both water and sewer. We are often asked by customers that live in Chesterfield County about companion meters. Over the years, Richmond Irrigation has obtained hundreds of companion meters and connected them to residential irrigation systems – so we have the answers!
Obtaining a companion meter and getting it connected to your irrigation system can be somewhat of a challenge, as there are multiple steps. We prefer to handle the entire process for our customers, but if you are interested in knowing what all is involved read on.
- We obtain a plumbing permit for the backflow prevention device from Chesterfield County Department of Building Inspection.
- Next, we complete an application for a companion meter and pay the fee – this is done at Chesterfield County Utilities.
- After paying the meter application fee, Chesterfield County Utilities will come out to your property and physically install a second meter (usually next to your home’s domestic meter, see picture) – usually within 45 days of the application fee being paid.
- Once the meter has been installed, the irrigation system must be connected to the newly installed meter. The piping between the new meter and the backflow prevention device must be inspected prior to being backfilled. Chesterfield County Department of Building Inspection will perform the inspection and once approved they will close out the plumbing permit (from step 1)
- This step is very labor intensive, as the piping between the new meter and the backflow prevention device must be installed at a depth of 24”. If your backflow prevention device is located at your home’s foundation or in the crawlspace, significant labor is required to perform this work – as the bulk of it must be hand-dug to minimize disruption to the lawn and avoid damaging existing utilities.
- After the inspection has been approved, we return to the property and backfill/compact the ditches.
- Lastly, we test the backflow prevention device and submit the report to Chesterfield County Utilities.
The total cost of installing a companion meter, including all the county fees and the labor to connect the new meter to your existing system, ranges from $1,000 for systems with existing backflow prevention devices located near the meter to $2,000 for systems that require extensive labor to get piping from the new meter to the existing backflow prevention device.
We are often asked “How long will it take to recover my initial investment?” This will obviously vary depending on the cost associated with installing the meter, along with the size of your property. A good rule of thumb is if you are planning on owning the home for the next four years – you will likely come out even or ahead during that time.