Bureau of Utilities - Water Meter Division

The Meter Division reads over 78,000 water accounts for billing purposes.  Of those meters, 70% are installed inside a residence or commercial building. Remaining meters are installed in a meter vault that is in the ground, near the property line.

Water Meter Replacement Program

Water Meter Replacement


The Meter Division is currently in the process of upgrading the meter reading system with new units that will obtain the data necessary to compute accurate water bills.

Howard County will be employing KEYSTONE UTILITY SYSTEMS as the authorized contractor for this program. Meters installed inside a residence will need to be replaced. Keystone staff will be mailing notices for those residences that will be affected. They will have appointment schedules to follow.


Check for leaks -Before contacting a plumber

Did You Know?

A running toilet is the most common cause for increased water usage.

Perform a simple test on ALL toilets:

  • Add food coloring to tank of all toilets
  • Let coloring sit for at least an hour
  • Check to see if water color in bowl has changed

If the color of the water in the bowl has changed, repairs are needed.

Other things to check….

  • Water heater leakage around the tank
  • Exterior hose connection leaks
  • Standing water on the property may indicate a leak of underground piping, particularly during dry weather

Other Reasons Could Be….

  • An increase in household members/guests
  • Filling or topping off swimming pool and/or other water toys
  • Additional time spent at home during summer or holidays
  • Lawn or garden watering
  • Sprinkler or irrigation use
  • Power washing

The division responds to inquiries regarding:

Low/ High water pressure inside the home. When a resident experiences a pressure problem it may be due to a faulty pressure regulator valve (PRV). This valve controls the main water pressure coming into the house. It may be the PRV causing the noisy meter/ banging pipe problem as well. This concern should be directed to a plumber, the Meter Division is responsible for the water meter only:

Water leaks from the meter. Stopped and noisy meter related issues. It is important to know the location of the inside water shut-off valve. Having access to this valve so that it can be closed, would help minimize damage in the event of a broken water pipe and allow for general plumbing repairs. Water dripping from leaking plumbing fixtures can be costly, causing a sudden increase in water and sewer bills and should be addressed as soon as possible. A leak of one drop per second can waste up to 2400 gallons of water a year. A leaking toilet can waste as much as 200 gallons a day.

The Bureau of Utilities' "Water Only Submeters Policy for Commercial and Industrial Water/Sewer Accounts" , including the Submeter Permit Application Form , is now available online.

Please see the Submeters Policy page for additional information.

Water Meter Maintenance Program

In an effort to update our aging infrastructure the County announced in November 2019 that it will begin an eight year Water Meter Maintenance Program to replace aging radio transmitters on all Public water meters.

The top section of the water meter houses a low power radio transmitter that sends water usage data to meter reading trucks. This data is used to compute water bills. These devices use batteries that are coming to the end of their useful life of ten years.

The Bureau of Utilities will be replacing the radio transmitter with new units that will be more reliable and have a twenty year life span.

If a resident's water meter is inside the home, Utilities staff will be setting up appointments to coordinate the replacement. This change-out should take less than twenty minutes to complete.

Water Meter Transmitters

Below is a detailed view of the two types of water meter transmitters.

Old type water meter radio transmitter

Old type water meter radio transmitter
Old type water meter radio transmitter

 New type water meter radio transmitter


 New type water meter radio transmitter

Questions can be answered by calling the Bureau of Utilities during normal working hours at 410-313-4980. 

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