Aqua Pennsylvania buys Emlenton wastewater system

From staff reports

EMLENTON- Aqua Pennsylvania announced Friday it has purchased the wastewater assets of the Emlenton Area Municipal Authority.

The authority serves about 450 customer connections in a portion of Richland Township, Venango County, and portions of Richland and Salem townships in Clarion County.

Aqua expects to spend $1.5 million to improve the wastewater treatment plants and bring them into compliance with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations. As part of the sales agreement, Aqua assumed responsibility for an existing corrective action plan imposed by the DEP.

The company also announced it is about to begin the latest in $9 million of infrastructure improvements that have transformed the formerly troubled Emlenton water system to one that complies with federal and state drinking water laws and environmental laws.

In the coming months, Aqua will complete the installation of a new source water facility along the bank of the Allegheny River for its Emlenton water treatment plant. Aqua says this project will ensure reliability and protect against impact to the federally protected fresh water club-foot mussels, which live on the riverbed, where the current 100-year-old intake is located.

Monday will be the eighth anniversary of the day Aqua announced the end of a 6-month boil water advisory for Emlenton water customers a little more than three weeks after assuming ownership of the system on Dec. 31, 2008.

Aqua outlines in a press release the improvements it has made since assuming ownership of the Emlenton water system:

– $3.3 million for construction of a new 288,000-gallon per day water treatment plant

– $4.5 million to replace nearly every water main in the system, connect previously dead-end mains to reduce the potential for water quality issues and other distribution system improvements

– $392,000 worth of improvements to the existing finished water reservoir, including the installation of a dome roof

 Construction of the new water treatment facility was completed in 2010 and enjoys membership in the Partnership for Safe Water – a voluntary cooperative effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Water Works Association and other drinking water organizations that represent more than 200 surface water utilities throughout the United States.

Aqua first introduced itself to the customers of the then Emlenton Water Company in November 2008 via hand-delivered notices to customers letting them know that they had assumed operations of the system and reminding them that a six-month-old boil order remained in effect. The water system also had an outstanding consent order from the state DEP at the time.

“The improvements we’ve made to the Emlenton water system are an example of our commitment to the communities where we live and work. We operate, maintain and improve our facilities so that these communities can thrive,” Aqua Pennsylvania president Marc Lucca said.

Aqua’s Western Pennsylvania division provides water service to about 75,000 people throughout its service territory, which spans parts of Lawrence, Mercer, Forest, Crawford, Venango, Clarion, Warren, Clearfield and McKean counties.

Overall, the company serves about 1.4 million people in 32 counties throughout Pennsylvania.