By Jeremy Deutsch – Kamloops This Week

Published: August 31, 2011 7:00 PM
Trudy Frisk loves her home.

Correction. Trudy Frisk once loved her home.

The longtime Kamloops resident was the queen of her Dallas Drive castle.

“It’s a lovely neighbourhood,” she told KTW of the neighbourhood she has called home for 27 years.

But, earlier this summer, Frisk’s quiet home life came to a piercing end.

She believes it all has to do with the installation of a water meter.

On July 7, Frisk had a water meter installed inside her home, like the more than 1,500 homeowners in Dallas, Barnhartvale and Juniper Ridge neighbourhoods who have also done the same under the city’s universal water-metering program.

Later that day, her ears began to ring and she felt a prickly sensation all over her body.

Frisk described the feeling as like standing under a high-voltage transmission tower.

“It was really weird,” she said.

That night, Frisk hardly slept and, when she awoke the next morning, the ringing in her ears continued.

However, the strange symptoms seemed to disappear when she went to work, only to return when she got home.

Frisk thought perhaps the meter weren’t grounded, so she called the city to check it out, while at the same time dropping by her audiologist to get her ears checked.

Her hearing was fine and so was the meter, yet there was still no improvement in her condition.

“It was intolerable,” she said.

Frisk then visited her doctor, who suggested it could be the meter could be behind her malady.

Each meter is outfitted with a radio-frequency transmitter that reads the unit remotely.

Her doctor surmised she could be suffering from a negative reaction to the frequency.

Armed with the information, she called the city for options.

Frisk could have Neptune Technology, the company installing the water meters, remove the transmitter and replace it with a wired dial outside the home.

The dial would have to be physically read once every three months for an extra $25 per quarter.

Her other option was to put the meter in a pit in her lawn for $1,000.

Frisk chose the wired route — she’d gladly pay the extra $100 to stop the pain.

It didn’t work.

The ringing didn’t stop.

Undeterred, she asked the city to then have the meter placed in a pit.

On Aug. 14, the meter was removed and banished to a hole.

“This is not how I wanted to spend my summer, believe me,” Frisk said

The bewildered Kamloops resident thought the problem was solved, and she could return to her quiet life.

But once again, the ringing returned.

Frisk maintained the ringing is now constant — and spending time in her home is the last thing she wants to do.

“It’s really difficult to live with that all the time,” she said.

She’s been told by her doctor there is a small percentage of people who have recorded an intolerance to electromagnetic fields.

With the frequency’s ability to travel and her surrounding neighbours all having the same water meters installed, Frisk has run out of options and is at a loss for answers.

She doesn’t blame the city or Neptune, both of which, she said, have been very co-operative and helpful.

“It’s nobody’s fault, like the way some people are allergic to peanuts,” Frisk said.

However, she said if she knew there was an option to have the transmitter placed on the outside of her home, it would have been her first choice.

David Duckworth, director of public works and sustainability, said the city is aware of Frisk’s dilemma, but contends it’s the only such case in Kamloops.

He said a handful of residents have raised concerns about the health effects from the frequencies, but added he hasn’t heard of any confirmed health-related cases from any of Neptune’s water meters.

The company has installed four-million devices across North America.

“It’s very rare,” Duckworth said.

Neptune sent a letter to the city in response to the concerns expressed by residents which can be read here.

As for the choice to have a transmitter placed outside, Duckworth noted the brochure handed out to residents advises calling the city to learn about options.

He noted only about 10 people have called so far.