Aqua America buys three PA water, wastewater systems

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BRYN MAWR, PA, Feb. 28, 2012 -- Aqua America Inc. (NYSE: WTR) announced today that its Pennsylvania subsidiary has received approval from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to acquire three systems serving more than 7,500 people. Two of the systems are privately operated and one is owned by a municipal authority.

Aqua America's Pennsylvania wastewater subsidiary, Little Washington Wastewater Company (LWWC), has signed an agreement to provide wastewater services to The Village at Valley Forge, a mixed-use community currently under construction in the King of Prussia submarket of Philadelphia.

The development -- described by its builder as "a mixed-use lifestyle center, or 'village' with its own town center" -- is being built on the 125-acre site of the former Valley Forge Golf Club adjacent to the nation's largest shopping mall, the King of Prussia Mall, in Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County. It is also situated near the intersection of four major highways including the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The project will include a mix of retail, office, residential, hotel and entertainment use.

Under the agreement, Realen Properties of Berwyn, (Realen) will build the collection system and pumping station, then dedicate it to LWWC which will own and operate the wastewater system. In a separate earlier agreement, Realen contracted Aqua America's non-regulated subsidiary Aqua Resources Inc. to build the pump station. Aqua America's largest operating subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania Inc., which already serves public water to the remainder of the township, will provide public water to the Village community as well. LWWC will purchase the wastewater assets for $1. Aqua anticipates closing on the first phase of this acquisition in the early part of the second quarter of 2012.

"This is a great growth venture for Aqua America companies," said Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. "The fact that our water and wastewater subsidiaries will have the opportunity to provide service to customers using infrastructure that is built by our non-regulated business makes this a unique business opportunity as well as a great growth venture as our water and wastewater utilities have the potential to serve an additional 10,000 people."

Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. (Aqua) will acquire the water system of Mifflin Township Water Authority (MTWA), located in Mifflin Township, Columbia County. The system, which serves more than 1,500 residents in the Mifflinville area, is currently under a Consent Order and Agreement with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that focuses on unaccounted for water. Aqua will be paying $1.1 million at closing.

Aqua was also given approval to purchase the water and wastewater assets of Total Environmental Solutions Inc. ("TESI"), which serves 6,000 residents in the Beech Mountain Lakes resort community located in portions of Butler and Dennison townships, Luzerne County for $1.5 million. The majority of the customers are residential.

Aqua anticipates the TESI and MTWA acquisitions will close late in the first quarter or early in the second quarter of 2012.

"Aqua has the technical, regulatory and financial resources to effectively operate these systems and invest in needed improvements to meet current and future customer needs," DeBenedictis said. "These acquisitions also benefit our customers through regionalization and economies of scale."

Aqua America is one of the largest U.S.-based publicly-traded water utilities serving almost 3 million residents in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, New York and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.

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