By Chad Frey

Newton Kansan

Newton USD 373 may have found a way to save a few thousand dollars on utility bills and is in the process of putting the plan in place.

School maintenance workers are in the process of installing new water meters at Newton High School, and negotiating with the city of Newton over sewer fees.

"We are paying water and sewer fees on the chiller, there is no need for sewer as all of that water evaporates," said Russell Miller, assistant superintendent for human and fiscal services. "It is much the same for irrigation. You are not dumping water in the sewers."

The school is wanting to place a new meter on the chiller — a device used to cool the school during warm weather. The school is requesting that meter be charged for water only, no sewer fees.

"We estimate we could save $7,000 to $8,000 a year," Miller said.

The idea came following a preliminary energy audit and presentation to the board of education which showed based on the building size and student numbers that Newton High School and Santa Fe 5/6 Center water usage was higher than comparable buildings.

"We have been trying to monitor and deal with these things," Miller said.