Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Ownership and Financing of American Water Works
Aqua America

Aqua America


The origins of the American

Aqua Pennsylvania was founded as the Springfield Water Company Pennsylvania on January 4, 1886, when a group of Swarthmore College professors received a charter to supply water to the residents of Springfield Township, Delaware County. They built a small pumping station and laid pipes to their homes. Initially, new customers were welcomed openly, but as the number of potential customers increased, so did the association’s operating responsibilities. It was then that the association made the decision to incorporate.

By 1925, the company had grown to meet the needs of 58 municipalities in three counties, and shareholders changed the name to Philadelphia Suburban Water Company.

In 1968, the water company board voted to create a holding company, Philadelphia Suburban Corporation, which was renamed Aqua America in 2004.

In January 2012, we sold our regulated water operations in Maine, which served approximately 16,000 customers, to Connecticut Water Services, Inc. In May 2012, we acquired all of American Water Works Company, Inc.’s regulated water and wastewater operations in Ohio, which served approximately 59,000 customers, and simultaneously sold our regulated water operations in New York, which served approximately 51,000 customers. These transactions concluded our regulated operations in Maine and New York. In September 2012, we began to market for sale our regulated water and wastewater operations in Florida, which serve approximately 38,000 customers, and our operation in Georgia which consists of a wastewater treatment facility. In December 2012, the Company entered into a definitive agreement to sell 80 of its regulated water and wastewater systems in Florida to the Florida Governmental Utility Authority. These 80 water and wastewater systems represent approximately 56% of our total customers served in Florida. This transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2013. In addition, we are holding discussions with interested parties for the sale of the remainder of our Florida regulated water and wastewater operations. The operating results, cash flows, and financial position of the Company’s Maine, New York, Florida, and Georgia subsidiaries have been presented in the Company’s consolidated financial statements as discontinued operations. During the second quarter of 2011, we acquired all of American Water Works Company, Inc.’s regulated water and wastewater operations in Texas, which served approximately 5,300 customers, and sold our regulated water and wastewater operations in Missouri, which served approximately 3,900 customers and concluded our regulated utility operations in Missouri.

Aqua America, which prior to its name change in 2004 was known as Philadelphia Suburban Corporation, was formed in 1968 as a holding company for its primary subsidiary, Aqua Pennsylvania, formerly known as Philadelphia Suburban Water Company. In the early 1990s we embarked on a growth through acquisition strategy focused on water and wastewater operations. Our most significant transactions to date have been the merger with Consumers Water Company in 1999, the acquisition of the regulated water and wastewater operations of AquaSource, Inc. in 2003, the acquisition of Heater Utilities, Inc. in 2004, and the acquisition of American Water Works Company, Inc.’s regulated water and wastewater operations in Ohio in 2012. Since the early 1990s, our business strategy has been primarily directed toward the regulated water and wastewater utility industry and has extended our regulated operations from southeastern Pennsylvania to include our current operations in nine other states. In 2009, we began operations in Georgia through the acquisition of a wastewater utility business that is currently not subject to economic regulation by the Georgia Public Service Commission. Prior to classification as a discontinued operation, our Georgia operation was included within our Regulated segment as it provided services similar to our regulated utility subsidiaries.


Growth slowed between 1985 and 1990, but then the company purchased three Chester County water systems. These acquisitions gave birth to the company’s “growth-through-acquisition” strategy, which began to accelerate at the end of 1992. Between 1992 and 1999, it purchased 29 water systems and three wastewater systems — a business it entered in 1996. The company also completed several other growth ventures, including main extensions to pick up additional customers, bulk water sales, and operating and management contracts. Together, these acquisitions added approximately 56,000 customers to the system.

In March 1999, Aqua America acquired Consumers Water Company and the utility’s operations in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey and Maine, adding more than 225,000 customer connections in five states, including 41,000 in Pennsylvania.

January 1, 2002, Philadelphia Suburban Water Company merged into Pennsylvania Suburban. Two years later effective January 16, 2004, Pennsylvania Suburban Water Company changed its name to Aqua Pennsylvania, Inc. to reflect its statewide presence. The parent company name was changed from PSC to Aqua America, reflecting its national presence.

Aqua Pennsylvania continued to grow the company and by year-end 2015, provided water and wastewater service to more than 445,000 customers (approximately 1.4 million people) in 32 counties.

Aqua America is the second-largest publicly traded water utility based in the U.S., and serves more than 3 million people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, New Jersey, Indiana and Virginia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.

Aqua America



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© 2019 Morris A. Pierce