VOORHEES, NJ, JAN 31, 2019 -- New Jersey American Water has signed an agreement to acquire the wastewater assets of the Borough of Mount Ephraim, N.J. for approximately $1.4 million. This municipal-owned sewer system serves approximately 1,800 customers, most of whom already receive water service from New Jersey American Water. The agreement follows a voter referendum that took place in November, in which approximately 80 percent of voters approved the sale of the system to New Jersey American Water.
"Water and sewer is all we do, and as Mount Ephraim's water company for more than a decade and a water provider to the area for over 90 years, we are deeply committed to making the needed improvements to ensure the community's sewer service is as clean, safe, reliable and affordable as the water service we provide," said Deb Degillio, president of New Jersey American Water.
As part of the acquisition agreement, New Jersey American Water will invest more than $4 million in needed sewer system improvements in the next four years, while freezing current sewer rates for residents for two years and increasing rates no more than 3 percent annually for the three years after that. These necessary improvements include main replacements, upgrades to two pump stations, GIS mapping the entire sewer pipe system and more. Additionally, the company will coordinate sewer and water pipeline replacements with the Borough's road paving schedule to minimize disruption. New Jersey American Water will also complete curb-to-curb paving after each major project.
"This is a total win for the residents of Mt. Ephraim," said Mount Ephraim Mayor Joseph Wolk. "Not only will New Jersey American Water be investing $4 million into upgrades needed to continue to support our residents and businesses, the $1.4 million purchase price will be used to reduce the Borough's municipal debt."
Commissioner Andy Gilmore also expressed support for the sale, stating, "Moving the sewer system to the private sector eliminates uncontrollable sewer costs which have been a major uncertainty in our budget."
Commissioner Michael "Traz" Tovinsky, who serves as Director of Public Works and led the Borough's Sewer Sub-committee, also noted, "Employees who currently work in the sewer system are part of the Borough's Department of Public Works and will be reassigned within the department for other critical functions."
New Jersey American Water expects to complete the acquisition in the first half of 2019, following approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.
New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.7 million people. For more information, visit www.newjerseyamwater.com.