Borough Agrees to Supply Water Needed by Aqua

Pottstown Borough Authority members (at top) as seen during their Monday night online meeting

POTTSTOWN PA – Aqua Pennsylvania, a unit of Essential Utilities Inc. that provides water services to customers in portions of Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties, received tentative approval Monday (June 14, 2021) from the Borough Authority to buy Pottstown water in bulk during the next four months to meet increasing demand.

Authority board members, during a specially scheduled online meeting, also said they would work with Aqua to establish a permanent, long-term agreement beyond the fall expiration date of what is labeled as the “Interim Emergency Bulk Water Purchase Agreement.”

Borough and Authority Manager Justin Keller explained Aqua customer demands for water have risen substantially. It sought additional capacity from the borough “mainly due to an exponential increase” in water use, arising from “ongoing trends of people working and schooling from home,” he said. Its contract with the authority also gives Aqua the safety of extra “redundancy” in its water sources, Keller added.

The company is being permitted to draw less than 300,000 gallons per day, subject to a review of final plans for the operation and the authority’s satisfaction with capacity monitoring and flow modeling. It “will be charged the same rate as our existing bulk water customers,” Keller said: $4.08 per 1,000 gallons.

Authority Solicitor Vincent Pompo, during the meeting, said arrangements were being made to provide Aqua with potable water from a temporary, above-ground connection at the authority’s Farmington Road pump station. The company will cover the costs of installing metering devices, shut-off valves, and backflow prevention. It also will pay a share of pump station electricity use, according to Pompo.

The agreement is structured to provide Pottstown with protections in specific legal circumstances, and also grants Aqua temporary occupancy at the pump station site. Details of how and where some necessary equipment will be housed have yet to be determined, the solicitor added.

Initially, Keller told the board, Aqua had asked to buy up to a million gallons per day. That request could not be met, in part he said because of potential issues at the pump station and also because the borough’s storage tank holds only half that amount, 500,000 gallons. If Aqua later wants to discuss larger volume sales, Keller indicated, “maybe it would be willing” to pay for a larger storage tank.

Screenshot photo taken by The Post
Water droplets photo by Brett Hondow via Pixabay, used under license