MASON CITY – Fairfield didn’t want them due to potential health risks, and now they are here in Mason City, leading some to question the implications of thousands of new “smart” water meters the city is installing.
According to city hall, as of July 31, 3,253 Neptune “smart” water meters have been installed in Mason City.
“We are installing the Neptune radio read meters, which allows for reading via a handheld or a computer,” staff told NIT. The meters give off a radio transmission pulse. The city wants to install up to 11,760 of the new meters. The cost of the residential meter is around $190 each and they are paid with water funds. There is budgeted money each year to pay for the replacement meters.
According to sources now coming forward, some in Mason City worry that the “smart” water meters have grave health implications and are not safe. These concerns have been brought to city hall, and, quietly, a number of citizens have been promised “opt-outs” (NIT has been shown city documents proving the opt-out). This means that these citizens would not be required to allow the city to install the Neptune smart water meter in their home (typically in the basement) but may be subject to a fee, perhaps monthly. Currently, city staff are working on a city-wide opt-out provision which could be introduced in the near future. City administrator Brent Trout (who has been off work for weeks) didn’t immediately respond to questions about the opt-out provision.
These concerns come on the heels of citizens in Fairfield, Iowa, who made a strong, concerted effort to have these same meters removed or stopped from being installed in their town. Citizens there cited “mounting research … about the long-term safety of saturating ourselves in electromagnetic frequencies”, i.e., the radio frequency (RF) “pulse” emitted from the smart meters. The RF pulses have been called “possibly carcinogenic to humans” and may exacerbate cancer, NIT is told by a concerned citizen. The Fairfield effort culminated in 2012 when the city gave up its push to install the Neptune meters.
“Our city stopped Neptune smart water meters two years ago, one of the first cities in the country to do so,” an activist from Fairfield wrote in 2014.
Reports have also surfaced that smart water meters are being installed in Ventura, Iowa, and there could be questions in that community as well.
In Mason City, some city council members are aware of concern in the community about the smart meters, but little or nothing has been done as of yet to address citizens’ concerns.
More on this developing story to come.