The AMI Water Meter 
that Modernized Madison County

The challenge: A Municipality in need of advanced metering infrastructure

Madison County is located in northern Alabama and is home to the city of Huntsville. In 2021, Huntsville ranked #1 for U.S. cities with the most economic growth, putting Madison County on the fast track to urbanization. While the influx of development was a gain for the city, it was taxing to the existing infrastructure. In 2020, as development exploded in and around the city, the Madison County Water Department was adding connections at a rate of 100 new water meters a month.

Challenged by increased demand, a growing customer base and a system that was administered by the city, Madison County decided it was time to transition to an AMI water meter solution. In doing so, they would be overhauling their systems in the ground and in the office.

Madison’s team was stepping up to acquire, install and integrate new smart water meters and implement new meter reading, billing and ordering systems. It was a massive undertaking, one that would bring all administration and customer service in-house and give Madison County full and immediate visibility into its water distribution network for the first time.

“We were implementing two generational projects at once.”

– Chuck Faulkner, County Engineer, Madison County, Alabama

The Madison County Water System

Madison County Water is a department of the Madison County Commission. It was formed by the merging of different entities, creating a system with an unusual mix of responsibilities and many independent water authorities.

Currently, the Madison County Water Department provides potable water service to unincorporated parts of the county.

Madison County’s service area is largely rural and covers about 400 square miles. The system consists of 35,000 connection points and 1,000 miles of water distribution mains. It draws and treats water from three wells but purchases most of its water from a partner utility.

Once primarily farmland, Madison County is quickly transitioning to a customer mix that is mostly residential with some commercial development. This type of transformation is complex, not only requiring more volume and access, but also demanding a different meter that can register a wider range of flow.

“Kamstrup provides us with an opportunity to put the same meter in everywhere in these different parts of the county that used to be independent water authorities. We have 400 square miles that we are finally getting all on the same page.”

– Vince Moody, Water System Engineer, Madison County, Alabama

The Solution: Improved AMI water metering

As Madison County began the process, they considered different solutions. In 2018, they issued a Request for Proposal (RFP), which was answered by nearly every meter company in the industry. They wanted a meter that would fit their system for the next 20 years and could handle the continued growth.

They also needed a meter that could serve all customers – rural, residential, commercial and industrial – as well as an automated solution that allowed them to take on all administration of their system and wouldn’t fail.

At the helm of the search was County Engineer Chuck Faulkner. “We decided, after analyzing all the opportunities thoroughly, that the best move for the residents of Madison County was to implement our own AMI system.” It was a big investment. Not only that, but with such booming economic development, Madison County wasn’t a great candidate for funding. The AMI solution they were after would also have to pay them back.

“We needed a dependable meter. We needed a meter that wouldn’t under- or over-register.”

– Chuck Faulkner, County Engineer, Madison County, Alabama

The Decision: Choosing Kamstrup

Kamstrup was one of nine meter solutions that responded to the RFP issued by the Madison County Water Department. Kamstrup was selected for an interview and it was a turning point in the process. According to Vince Moody, Water System Engineer for Madison County, “After the interview, Kamstrup was very near the top, if not the top selection.”

Ultimately, the decision to choose Kamstrup resulted from two things: the meter and the team. Madison County needed a meter that would perform. And everyone, from the operations guys in the field to the engineers at Madison, were impressed with the ease of use and durability of the Kamstrup meter.

Second was the relationship that Madison County knew would be integral to their project and their success. “We wanted people who we wanted to be working with,” said Vince Moody. “We were very impressed with the team that came and presented to us that day. Fortunately, most of them are still involved with the project.”

“We were very impressed with the team that came and presented to us that day.”

– Vince Moody, Water System Engineer, Madison County, Alabama

The Results: AMI Water Meter Solutions Modernized the Madison County Water Department

Madison County purchased 35,000 meters with Acoustic Leak Detection, which continuously monitor noise patterns that indicate possible leaks, allowing utilities to proactively identify high-risk areas in both service line connections and distribution main lines. This solution gave them new visibility into their system and allowed them to bring meter reading and billing operations in-house.

Since the deployment of the Acoustic Leak Detection smart meter solution, the county was able to find numerous distribution-side leaks to address, which will help them reduce non-revenue water loss. “We are modernizing our entire system, and Kamstrup is the centerpiece,” said Moody. “It’s allowing us to integrate and automate the way we do billing, the way we do work orders, and the way we do metering, measuring and monitoring.”

“We’re not here to make a profit. We just want to deliver water to the people, and Kamstrup is going to allow us to do that in the most efficient, effective and cost-efficient manner possible.”

– Vince Moody, Water System Engineer, Madison County, Alabama

Expect More From Your Meters

Are you ready for a meter that’s not only smart, but also sensitive, reliable, intuitive and insightful? If so, it’s time to see Kamstrup meters in action.