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Tosa responds to concerns about radiation from water meters

July 25, 2014

After receiving two complaints in the past couple months from residents who did not want Wauwatosa to install new smart water meters on their properties, city officials are considering an opt-out option for residents with health concerns about radiation.

One Wauwatosa man, Greg Schliesmann, recently turned to the media to voice his frustration over the installation attempt, saying the city threatened to shut off his water if he did not allow the smart meter on his property.

According to the American Cancer Society, the radio-frequency waves emitted from the meters, like those from cell phones, have a potential to cause harm but at an "extremely low" risk. The smart meters are able to relay readings back to City Hall so workers don't have to visit private properties.

Karen Jaeckels, mayoral assistant, said the city is now in touch with Schliesmann and proposing a smart meter to go outside his home to give him more distance, as it did last year for another resident with a health concern. She said the city has no plans to shut off his water.

City staff are also considering an opt-out program that might allow residents to pay a fee to use a meter without radiation. That would have to be approved by the Common Council and the Public Service Commission.

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