BRYN MAWR, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE: WTR) announced today at its annual meeting of shareholders that it has updated its sustainability report, citing many improvements in its efforts to ensure the sustainability of its operations, which are celebrating their 125th year, and to protect the environment.
“We’ve made a several capital investments since the report was first published last year that have enhanced our environmental efforts and which are highlighted in this year’s updated report,” said Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. “Our company was founded 125 years ago by college professors out of their concern for public health and the environment. The fact that 125 years later, Aqua America utilities remain viable, continuing to provide a vital natural resource and service to an increasing number of customers, speaks volumes about the prudency and sustainability of the company’s capital investment program throughout that time.”
The infrastructure improvement program in its largest distribution network (southeastern Pennsylvania) is credited with helping to keep Aqua Pennsylvania’s unaccounted water (lost between the plant and the customer’s tap) and the number of main breaks per 100 miles below the national average despite acquiring operating systems with mains more than 100 years old.
Aqua Pennsylvania’s Roaring Creek treatment plant received the Phase III Directors Award of Recognition from the Partnership for Safe Water, a national volunteer initiative developed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the American Water Works Association and other water organizations. Aqua’s Roaring Creek plant is one of just 53 surface water treatment plants in Pennsylvania to be presented the award.
A new treatment system at its Neshaminy water treatment plant uses a combination of UV-oxidation and hydrogen peroxide to help fight the aesthetic impact of algae blooms. The environmental benefit of the new treatment system is expected to reduce the plant’s carbon footprint from 29 million kilograms to 7.5 million kilograms over 20 years, and cut its residual waste in half, primarily by eliminating the need for powdered activated carbon. At two other Pennsylvania water treatment facilities, the new use of belt filter presses are decreasing the amount of water left in treatment residuals, cutting the disposal volume in half and thereby, extending the life of disposal sites.
Aqua Maine’s new Mirror Lake treatment plant, which uses membrane filtration, employs a combination of solar thermal and a photovoltaic energy system to reduce purchased power consumption by up to 80,000 kWh annually. The Mirror Lake plant has one of Maine’s largest solar facilities.
Collectively, Aqua America subsidiaries operate more than 250 wastewater treatment plants, about 15 percent of which provide high quality treated effluent for reuse. The company’s total fleet includes 1,250 service vehicles. Between 2009 and 2010, the company increased its fuel mileage, reduced its driving miles by 44,000 miles, its fuel consumption by 58,000 gallons, all while servicing 9,200 more customers.
In addition to the sustainable operations initiatives, the company has also introduced paperless billing, which offers customers the option to receive electronic statements and, or pay their bills on line.
The report focuses primarily on Aqua America’s Pennsylvania subsidiary, which is the largest and oldest of its operating units, accounting for more than half of the company’s revenue and nearly half of its customer base, and can be found on the company’s Web site at www.aquaamerica.com.
Aqua America, Inc. is a publicly traded water and wastewater utility holding company with operating subsidiaries serving approximately 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, New York, Indiana, Florida, Virginia, Maine, Missouri, and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.