EPA Honors Aqua for Rebuilding Bristol Water Plant.
Date: Wednesday, May 9 2007
BRISTOL, Pa. -- Federal, state and local officials gathered here today as Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. (Aqua) accepted the 2006 Award for Sustainable Public Health Protection from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The award recognizes Aqua's efficient use of federal funding to rebuild the Bristol Water Treatment Plant, which supplies drinking water to approximately 30,000 local residents.
In presenting the award, Jon Capacasa, director of the Water Protection Division for EPA's mid-Atlantic region, said, "We applaud Aqua Pennsylvania for demonstrating outstanding leadership to protect the public's health by making critically needed improvements to the community's drinking water system."
Located in Bristol Borough, the plant began to provide service in 1874 and required a complete overhaul when Aqua acquired the municipal water system in 1996. The company invested approximately $10 million to rehabilitate and upgrade the facility, with $5.9 million of the total financed with a low-interest loan from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST).
EPA recognized Aqua on the recommendation of PENNVEST officials. "We proudly nominated Aqua for its ability and willingness to tackle the needs of neglected, troubled water systems, such as the Bristol facility, which require both the capital and expertise to bring them up to environmental standards," said PENNVEST Chairman Joseph Manko.
Aqua Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Nicholas DeBenedictis accepted the award. "This honor means a great deal to us, because it recognizes Aqua's commitment to addressing environmental issues and improving water quality. Furthermore, we take pride in using low-interest financing effectively to reduce interest expense, which helps control rates for customers while enabling us to address more capital improvement needs."
Aqua began the plant's overhaul in 1999 and completed the project in May 2001. Improvements included automating the filters and controls, installing equipment to remove solids from the water, upgrading chlorination and electrical systems, integrating a central computer system, and replacing leaking roofs. The project reduced the potential for filter failure and discharge of contaminants and eliminated structural safety hazards.
Among the dignitaries attending the ceremony were State Representative John Galloway (D-Bucks), Bristol Borough Council President Ralph DiGuiseppe and officials from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Delaware River Basin Commission.
Under EPA's Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program, the agency provides grants to the states, which in turn, use the funds to provide low-interest loans for drinking water projects. These projects support the Safe Drinking Water Act by protecting public health. In Pennsylvania, the program is managed by PENNVEST in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
Aqua provides water and wastewater services to approximately 1.4 million residents throughout Pennsylvania, including 1.3 million residents in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties. It is the largest subsidiary of Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE:WTR), the largest U.S.-based water and wastewater utility holding company serving customers in 13 states.