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Aqua Ohio purchases Campbell water system

January 29, 2020
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

Aqua Ohio made the announcement last week the company has completed the purchase of the City of Campbell's water treatment plant and distribution system. This addition to the Aqua Ohio system will add roughly 3,200 connections in the Campbell area.

Aqua Ohio is paying $7.5 million for the assets, and the plan is to invest $4.3 million in the water system over the next ten years.

"We're excited to welcome the residents of Campbell to our local operation," said Jennifer Johnson, Aqua's area manager for the company's Mahoning Valley system based in Struthers. "This expansion is a milestone in our proud history of service to the Valley that spans over 100 years."

In a press release from last week, it was stated the average customer using 3,200 gallons will see no increase in their monthly water bill. Customers who use less than the average user in the system can expect to see a decrease in their monthly bill, while those who consume more than average will see a moderate increase in their monthly bills.

It was also noted to Campbell residents that city water department employees have been hired by Aqua after passing background and drug screenings and have already been issued new safety equipment and begun Aqua training.

"Compliance with evolving safety and environmental requirements is becoming more difficult for municipalities. More communities are engaging with Aqua to explore possibilities for putting water quality experts in charge of their utility's future," said Tony Mancari, Aqua's director of municipal services, in that press release. "Aqua offers efficiencies, expertise and economies of scale to meet regulatory expectations, improve reliability, and keep rates reasonable."

As to what effect the purchase will have on Poland residents and customers, spokesperson for Aqua Ohio, Jeffrey La Rue, said, "None in terms of water quality or supply, but as far as rates go, it will have positive effects in the long-term. By expanding the number of customers within our Mahoning Valley operations, we will be able to better utilize our experts and spread costs further with economies of scale. When we keep costs low, it's not just good for our company, it's good for our customers."

The agreement with Campbell is structured so that at the end of five years, those customers will be integrated into the larger, local rate base. That helps the entire community fabric in the Valley.

As for the Campbell plant, La Rue said that plant will continue to serve only the Campbell area for the next several years. Ultimately, Aqua Ohio plans to retire the plant and serve Campbell water customers from the Poland plant, which is undergoing $12 million in renovations. That project is close to completion and an announcement should be made this spring when everything is done.

Aqua Ohio's biggest challenge right now is in dealing with community leaders.

"Our biggest challenge is probably overcoming inertia among community leaders," he said. "Too many of them are in denial about the new health, safety and environmental regulations being instituted. Some are reluctant to take action until their systems are in crisis. It can be frustrating to see communities with such needs in terms of health, safety and reliability, and officials hesitant to make difficult decisions."

As for Campbell, affected customers are being mailed details about the transition including customer service contact information and their new options for paying bills. As of Jan. 24, customers can contact Aqua's customer service center at 877.987.2782. Representatives are available Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to address all water service and account needs and 24/7 to respond to main breaks and emergency calls.

Aqua Ohio is the Buckeye State's largest investor-owned drinking water and wastewater utility and serves about 500,000 customers in 19 counties. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

 
 

 

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