Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Rant mode on
Here is a great example of the kind of weird, stupid stuff I have to deal with sometimes. I did my regular cycle 14 route today, which covers a huge swath of area up Foster Road, down FM 78, and all kinds of stuff. We had two "niners" on it. I think I've explained niners before, but the short explanation is that they are new meters that have never been on the route before.
Now, meters that were installed many years ago were installed by people who mostly knew what they were doing, and recorded good and accurate location information. For example, last week I was looking for an old meter on a route I'd never done before and the location information was something like "36 feet from the corner and 6 feet in from the street." This is by far the best location info I have ever heard for any meter.
The people who install meters now are complete morons. The info I got was "near the corner at the intersection of Woodlake Parkway and Windfield Gap." In the above map, you can see where Woodlake Parkway is. The other street is very small and wasn't labeled unless you zoomed in really tight, so I put a little red dot on it to show where it is. See it? Now, someone please explain to me exactly where the intersection of Woodlake Parkway and Windfield Gap is.
Well, we eventually found the two meters we were looking for, sort of. By the way, a much more accurate description of the location would have been "near the intersection of Windfield Gap and Binz-Engleman." By sort of, I mean that one of them was the right meter with no problems. However, the other meter was a complete mess. It was supposed to be a 2-inch meter, but it was in a huge vault that is usually reserved only for very large meters because they are connected to very large pipes. Indeed, this vault had a very large (I'd guess an 8-inch) pipe in it, but the meter was on a very small bypass pipe and was only a 5/8-inch meter. Also it had the wrong serial number. The only thing that was correct about it was the manufacturer. I wrote everything down about it that I could think might be important and turned it in to my supervisor, so now it's somebody else's problem.
Once, there was a large meter that suddenly disappeared. I mean, it had just been removed so that there was only a straight pipe. This happens occasionally, but it's usually just a plain old residential meter and it's because someone decided they'd be sneaky and get rid of the meter because they think this way they can get free water (they don't). However, this was a large industrial pipe at a big company and I didn't think they were doing anything stupid like that. I kept skipping it and turning it in as a straight connection, and my "superiors" kept telling me it was still there. Eventually they even gave me a map of where it was, as if I was some kind of imbecile. This made me snap a little, and I and my supervisor had a rather heated exchange about it. "I've been reading this route every month for 5 years, and I know where every single meter is. But that one is not there anymore," I told him. So finally, and this was after about 7-8 months, an "investigator" was sent out to "investigate." (P.S. Don't even get me started on investigators). The investigator discovered...that the meter was gone. It took a few more months to get all worked out, but eventually someone discovered that someone else in the company had decided to make this pipe a fire line and therefore the meter was removed. Whoever that person was hadn't bothered to inform anyone else in the company about the decision.
Rant mode off...for now.