The state Public Utility Commission voted unanimously on Thursday to approve the sale of W.P. Water holdings to Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. for $185,000, ending an ongoing saga of water-availability concerns for the company’s customers in Wyoming County.
The sale of the facilities serving about 150 customers in Washington Township includes $45,000 for the Sleepy Hollow system, $70,000 for the Washington Park system and $70,000 for W.P. Sanitary to be managed by an Aqua subsidiary.
Problems have festered for years at the Washington Park development serviced by W.P., according the state Department of Environmental Protection, and residents have complained repeatedly of poor or nonexistent water service. In preparation for the sale, the previous owner, Bear Creek Township resident Carl Kresge, had to take several customers before a district magistrate to attempt to collect disputed bills.
As part of the sale, Aqua agreed to improve the systems up to regulatory standards, promising between $125,000 and $200,000 investment for Sleepy Hollow, between $889,000 and $1.77 million for Washington Park, and in excess of $1.6 million for Washington Park’s sanitary-sewer system.
Over a 12-month period, $25,000 will refunded to the customers of W.P. Water and Sanitary.
Monthly bills for customers of either water company using a monthly average of 5,000 gallons will increase from $19.55 to $47.41. When meters are installed, monthly bills for Sleepy Hollow will average $51.31 and $50.15 for W.P. Water customers. Bills for WP Sanitary customers using the same average will increase from $18.45 to $47.08, and eventually average $52.10 when meters are installed.
Kresge has repeatedly complained that too many houses were built in the development for the available service and that he hasn’t been able to secure funding for improvements. Though he felt he wasn’t compensated enough in the settlement, Kresge’s attorney, Ernie Preate, has said much of the motivation for accepting it was pressure from enforcement actions, and potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and criminal charges in connection with investigations that found the sewage-treatment facility’s effluent polluted a tributary of the Susquehanna River.