BRYN MAWR, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 25, 2022– Essential Utilities Inc. (NYSE: WTRG) announced today that subsidiary Aqua Pennsylvania has received approval by the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Authority for a PENNVEST grant to construct a treatment facility for two of its Hatboro well stations in Horsham Township, Montgomery County. The treatment will remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) which have found their way into Pennsylvania’s waterways due to widespread industrial uses in fire-fighting foams, carpets, clothing, furniture fabrics, paper packaging for food and other materials that are resistant to water, grease or stains.
The $5.5 million grant, which alleviates the cost of treatment for Aqua ratepayers, will help support Aqua’s construction of new ion exchange contactors and related well station improvements to accommodate the new treatment. Since 2018, Aqua has worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to complete studies showing that the proposed resin treatment system will provide the desired treatment to Aqua’s wells. Most recently, Aqua received a PENNVEST loan to construct a similar treatment facility at its North Hills well in Upper Dublin Township.
“Aqua Pennsylvania and Essential Utilities have led the way on PFAS remediation in this region, through transparent communication with our customers via WaterFacts.com, a forward-looking action plan for treatment, and setting our own company-wide standard as we await regulatory guidance,” said Essential Chairman and CEO Christopher H. Franklin. “Just as significantly, we are advocating for our customers by seeking alternate funding for PFAS remediation—from filing suit against the responsible chemical manufacturers, to successfully applying for grants like PENNVEST to minimize the financial burden on our customers.”
This is the second PENNVEST grant the company has secured. In 2020, it received $4.5 million for the construction of a PFAS treatment facility at the North Hills well station in Abington Township, which was voluntarily removed from service in 2016 due to PFAS testing results. That well is expected to be returned to service by the end of 2022.
“On behalf of Aqua Pennsylvania I want to thank the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and PENNVEST for their support in helping us secure this grant, which will improve drinking water quality by continuing our efforts to minimize the presence of PFAS in our local communities without impacting water rates. This helps us to achieve our mission of protecting and providing earth’s most essential resource,” said Aqua Pennsylvania President Marc Lucca. “This is an issue of primary importance to us as a drinking water utility and to our broader community, we remain committed to working hard for our customers.”
Aqua Pennsylvania began reporting monthly PFAS testing results in 2016, and in 2018, the company created an action plan to make significant investments to help treat for PFAS. Aqua has invested over $1 million in equipment to increase laboratory testing capacity; installed granular activated carbon and resin filters on four systems with the highest level of PFAS; conducted engineering evaluations of the Neshaminy water treatment plant and evaluated the effectiveness of the Horsham Air National Guard’s treatment system based on contaminant levels in the Neshaminy Creek; and assessed alternative treatment options, including ion exchange resins and other technologies.
In 2020, Aqua proactively established a company-wide standard of 13 parts per trillion (PPT) for PFAS, which was significantly less than the 2016 Environmental Protection Agency health advisory level of 70 PPT. This treatment standard, which was based on the most stringent state guidance at the time, enabled the company to address contaminants uniformly across nearly 1,500 water systems in the company’s eight-state footprint.
Essential is one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater service and natural gas providers in the U.S., serving approximately 5.5 million people across 10 states under the Aqua and Peoples brands. Essential is committed to excellence in proactive infrastructure investment, regulatory expertise, operational efficiency and environmental stewardship. The company recognizes the importance water and natural gas play in everyday life and is proud to deliver safe, reliable services that contribute to the quality of life in the communities it serves. For more information, visit http://www.essential.co.
About Aqua Pennsylvania
Aqua Pennsylvania provides water and wastewater service to approximately 1.5 million people in 32 communities throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information or follow @MyAquaAmerica on Facebook and Twitter.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which generally include words such as “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimates” and similar expressions. The company can give no assurance that any actual or future results or events discussed in these statements will be achieved. Any forward-looking statements represent its views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from the statements contained in this release. Such forward-looking statements include but are not limited to statements relating to the capital to be invested by the water divisions of the company. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including the factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, which is filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. For more information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with the company’s business, please refer to the company’s annual, quarterly and other SEC filings. The company is not under any obligation – and expressly disclaims any such obligation – to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.