Montgomery County, Pa., water systems in line for $31 million upgrade

Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. announced yesterday that it will embark on a 2006 capital improvement program that totals more than $31 million for its Montgomery County water treatment facilities, storage tanks, pumping stations and pipes that deliver drinking water to customers' homes and businesses. The amount is part of the $136 million that the company will spend statewide this year to maintain and improve its water infrastructure...

Industrial development bonds to help finance key projects

BRYN MAWR, PA, March 8, 2006 -- Aqua Pennsylvania Inc. announced yesterday that it will embark on a 2006 capital improvement program that totals more than $31 million for its Montgomery County water treatment facilities, storage tanks, pumping stations and pipes that deliver drinking water to customers' homes and businesses. The amount is part of the $136 million that the company will spend statewide this year to maintain and improve its water infrastructure.

"Our 2006 capital program is a continuation of Aqua's track record of investing in the infrastructure improvements that are needed to meet environmental standards for water quality and to provide customers with reliable water service," said Aqua chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. "We believe in taking a proactive approach to capital spending, because it helps avoid the type of public health issues that are facing many communities that can't or won't invest the necessary funds."

He added that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that water utilities need to invest $277 billion over the next 20 years to upgrade and maintain the nation's water infrastructure. "Aqua is committed to doing its part to meet this challenge, especially when it comes to replacing old, leaking mains with new pipes to help conserve our precious water resources," he said.

In Montgomery County, Aqua's 2006 capital improvement plans include:
• Water main replacement in Lower Merion Township on Montgomery Avenue. Estimated cost is $2.7 million.
• Water main replacement in Whitemarsh Township on Joshua Road. Estimated cost is $1.5 million.
• Water main rehabilitation, cleaning and lining in Conshohocken Borough on West 10th Avenue. Estimated cost is $1.4 million.
• Water main replacement in Lower Merion Township on Righters Mill Road. Estimated cost is $1.3 million.
• Water main replacement in Cheltenham Township on Church Road. Estimated cost is $400,000.
• And in Abington Township, Aqua has scheduled several large-scale main replacement and rehabilitation projects totaling more than $4 million. This work includes the installation of new ductile iron pipe on Old York Road, Old Welsh Road, Fillmore Avenue, Sylvania Avenue and Mount Carmel Avenue, as well as the cleaning and lining of water mains on Glen and Woodland roads, to improve service reliability for residents and increase water flows for firefighting.

DeBenedictis also noted that the company has successfully secured low-interest financing from a county industrial development authority (IDA) to help fund capital improvements across southeastern Pennsylvania. In December 2005, the company closed on $25 million in tax-exempt financing issued by the IDA at yields of 4.82%. "One of major advantages of the tax-exempt financing is that we're able to significantly reduce our interest expenses, meaning we can invest those savings in additional infrastructure projects that benefit our customers," he said.

Aqua Pennsylvania (www.aquapennsylvania.com) provides water and wastewater services to approximately 1.4 million residents across the state, including nearly 1.3 million residents in Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, Bucks and Berks counties. It is the largest subsidiary of Aqua America Inc., the largest U.S.-based water company, which serves 2.5 million residents in 13 states.

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