Isanti man refuses to have water meter changed out

By Elizabeth Sias

An Isanti resident is refusing to have his water meter changed out, citing his daughter’s health as his primary concern.

As part of the street and sewer improvement projects in Isanti, the city changed out the water meters of all residences in the city that detect water usage.

On Dec. 22, 2011, the Finance Committee reviewed the status of meter change outs. To date, Mark Wyandt is the only property to provide a written request to not install the new meter.

There are 11 other properties that have water on, but have not had the new meter installed. These were billed a $75 non-compliance fee on their November invoice and will be billed the $75 fee again on their December invoice.

The Finance Committee reviewed a letter by Wyandt in October. The committee decided to table the item, and Wyandt was informed that he would not be billed the $75 non-compliance meter change out fee while the item is tabled.

He came forward at the Isanti City Council meeting Jan. 3 to plead his case.

In his letter, Wyandt states that for several years, his 7-year-old daughter has been treated for serious health issues related to a compromised immune system. She was treated at Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis with no results.

He stated that through his research, he discovered his family is sensitive to things that affect their immune system, causing eczema and skin-related issues. He also said he believes his family is electromagnetically sensitive, and his concern with the new water meter is the signal is sends out through the house. Wyandt did his own research on the topic and cited multiple studies completed on electrosensitivity.

“I’m not asking for charity, I’m not asking for sympathy,” he said. “All I’m asking is just to not have the meter.”

However, Mayor George Wimmer said that because the new water meter transmits a low-frequency signal only once a month, he didn’t believe it to be an issue with the many other radio frequencies being transmitted through televisions, Wi-Fi signals, microwaves and other devices.

“None of the evidence that was presented—unless I’m wrong or I misread something—shows that these meters would cause any harm at all to anyone,” Wimmer said.

Council Member Sue Larson motioned for the item to be tabled and discussed at the next City Council meeting Jan. 17, allowing time for Wyandt to bring forward statements from his daughter’s physicians.

In other action, the council:

• Designated the Isanti County News as the official city newspaper for 2012.