The City of Clemson has been experiencing some issues with water meters being "hidden" by shrubs, flowers, other plantings and other obstructions, and the City is asking residents to help clear these obstructions.
The City of Clemson has over 7,000 utility accounts that are read monthly, and we only have two meter readers. When the City of Clemson finds a meter that is obstructed, our normal procedure is to leave a notice at the residence/business and ask that the owner/resident clear away all the obstructions within two weeks of the notice. After those two weeks, City of Clemson Utilities or Utility Billing personnel will check to see if this has been accomplished. If not, we will clear away the growth, sometimes not to the customer's satisfaction as our primary purpose is merely to clear away the obstructions.
The State Statute places responsibility squarely on the property owner to keep vegetation and landscaping maintained at all times so as not to impede the clear visibility of the water meter. Vegetation, landscaping, and other improvements are to be constructed and maintained at all times so as not to impede the clear visibility of the water meter. Furthermore, a minimum clearance of three (3) feet shall be maintained around the water meter to allow safe operation by utility personnel, and there shall be nothing present which interferes with operating water meter valves.
While many residents comply with our informal requests to maintain clearance around and access to water meters as required by law, a growing number are ignoring this responsibility. The City of Clemson would prefer to work cooperatively with all property owners; however, the safety of the public and our employees is our primary responsibility. If our informal and more cordial efforts are ignored, we may pursue enforcement as the inability to access a water meter or other public utility lines and appurtenances is a violation of State and City of Clemson ordinances.