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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted at 11:19 a.m., Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Water meters possibly altered

By Mike Gordon
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply said it is investigating what may be illegal meter tampering by 40 employees.

The department said suspicious water use prompted the investigation.

An independent agency may be hired to complete the investigation, said Donna Kiyosaki, deputy manager of the board. Problems surfaced recently when workers tested the new automated meter reading system, she said.

"We started seeing some things that were unusual and we started investigating," Kiyosaki said today. "We are taking this very seriously and we are going to follow up. But it is too early to point accusatory fingers."

Although water use can vary widely from home to home, Kiyosaki said engineers were concerned about readings that were well below average use, which is about 350 to 400 gallons a day.

"We want to assume they are innocent until proven guilty," she said. "If you are innocent, it will come out in the wash."

An employee guilty of tampering with a meter could be fired, she said.

Possible meter tampering prompted Water Manager Clifford Jamile to send a letter to employees on Oct. 12.

"I have a deep sense of disappointment and betrayal that some of our employees could be taking advantage of the Board, the City Department of Wastewater and ultimately our customers to profit individually," he wrote.