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Investigation into water meter tampering at Jacksonville apartment complexes continues

11:29 PM, Dec 5, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- JEA now says it has found twelve apartment complexes with a device authorities say is dangerous.

"With the 700 gallons of water per minute that was coming out of the fire hydrant, that's no where near enough to fight a fire," Robbi Chicoski, owner of Affordable Plumbing.

The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department is picking up an investigation started by JEA into twelve Jacksonville apartment complexes JEA said tampered with water meters.

"The technician who went out there realized there was something wrong with the way the meter was performing, he had to dismantle the meter and that's when he found out it had been tampered with," said JEA spokesperson Gerri Boyce.

On Wednesday, Boyce said they removed another Precision Flow Engineered Calibration System device from Hunter's Ridge apartments.

The device she now says has been found at all twelve properties owned by Mid-America Apartments.

"It's just a secondary meter to double check what JEA's providing," said Chicoski.

Chicoski said although he has not installed a Precision Flow, he is familiar with the device and says a side effect is a reduction in water flow.

"In this case they're losing probably half their water flow going through, coming from JEA."

Chicoski demonstrated on a similar model.

"It's not actually meant to restrict water but it's a secondary meter," he said. "As you see inside, there's a series of screens and filters inside this which could restrict the flow."

Measurements First Coast News received from JEA show at one property, a six-inch fire meter showed a 77.5 percent volume reduction with the device down to 740 gallons per minute ... just under half the amount required by JFRD safety regulations.

According to JFRD spokesperson Tom Francis, the agency began its own investigation today, finding devices at three of the five properties they inspected. Each of those three properties has been issued a citation and they will continue to inspect the remaining complexes tomorrow.

First Coast News

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