The next time there’s a serious water main break in Erie County, you can expect a text, email and even a robo call alert.
The Erie County Water Authority today selected IVR Technology Group LLC of Getzville to set up the system. The company will also design a backup for the authority’s phone and web site.
During last week’s water emergency when a water main break led to a boil water notice for some 200,000 Northtowns customers, the authority’s phone and web site crashed as customers sought information.
Residents were especially upset because the boil water alert was issued in the early morning hours when many were sleeping or not turned to the news.
Michael Caputo, spokesperson for the authority, said informal proposals were sought from three companies and the authority selected the local firm. All were telecommunications firms.
The authority’s board acted unanimously.
The vote allows the authority to negotiate an agreement with IVR Technology.The company will be hired under a personal services contract which does not require formal public bidding, Caputo said.
Caputo said the plans is for IVR Technology to set up a backup so that the water authority’s telephone and web site will not go down even with heavy volume.
He said the company will design an opt-in system that will allow authority customers to provide mobile phone and home phone numbers and email to receive alerts.
He noted that the alert system would kick-in only when there is a threat to the health and welfare of the area.
Erie County is on track for some 1,500 water main breaks this year, up from 1,100 in past years.
If the alert system had been in place in the past decade, customers would have gotten alerts two or three times, Caputo said.
The Erie County Legislature will examine the authority’s alert system during a meeting on Aug. 3.