Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Aqua America Launches Georgia Subsidiary with New Wastewater Acquisition

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aqua America, Inc. (NYSE: WTR) announced December 22 that it has acquired a wastewater treatment, disposal and re-use system in Lumpkin County, Georgia. The acquisition will launch Aqua’s new operating subsidiary, Aqua Georgia, Inc., in the midst of one of the nation’s highest-growth corridors, within an hour’s drive north of Atlanta along Georgia’s Route 400.

“We’re happy to welcome Aqua into our community, and we look forward to working with them for years to come”

Aqua purchased the interests of WRF Georgia, LLC, which owns and operates the plant. The new venture represents Aqua’s entry into another of the nation’s fast-growing southern states and another public-private partnership for the company — Aqua will sell its wastewater treatment, disposal and re-use services to the Lumpkin County Water and Sewerage Authority, which in turn provides service to the public. Aqua also obtained the exclusive right to provide wastewater service to an area covering approximately 14,750 acres. Since 2006, when the system was constructed, the availability of the plant’s services has helped the county secure new economic growth such as a shopping center and other businesses.

“We’re pleased to be able to bring Aqua’s services to Georgia, and we believe our new partnership with Lumpkin County represents the beginning of a long-term commitment to the state,” said Aqua Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. “Aqua can offer quality water and wastewater solutions to Georgia for generations to come.”

Lumpkin County lies along Georgia Route 400, a highway that has spurred massive growth in neighboring Forsyth County. Forsyth is the country’s sixth fastest-growing county according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Similarly, Lumpkin County estimates that its population has grown by 44 percent in the past 10 years.

Last week, Vice President Joe Biden visited nearby Dawsonville, Georgia, to announce Recovery Act broadband grant and loan program awards, which officials expect to enhance economic development in rural areas and underserved urban communities. The Administration awarded a grant to the North Georgia Network Cooperative, Inc., to deploy a 260-mile regional fiber-optic ring to improve broadband access through 12 North Georgia counties, including Lumpkin County.

“We’re happy to welcome Aqua into our community, and we look forward to working with them for years to come,” said Murl Jones, chairman of the county’s Water and Sewerage Authority. “Aqua has a long track record of improving and expanding local water and wastewater systems and delivering quality service to its customers. That’s exactly the kind of partner we need to continue the growth we started with WRF.”

Aqua’s new plant is designed and permitted to treat up to 50,000 gallons per day with a state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor treatment system that produces a much cleaner effluent than a traditional plant — and in a smaller footprint.

According to the terms of the agreement, Aqua did not publicly disclose the purchase price of the acquisition. Today’s announcement brings the total number of Aqua’s acquisitions this year to 17.

Aqua America is a publicly traded water and wastewater utility holding company with operating subsidiaries serving approximately three million people in Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia, Maine, Missouri, South Carolina and Georgia. Aqua America is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WTR.

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 that address, among other things, the effect of the acquisition of the described business and possible benefits from the acquired operations. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including: risk associated with the acquired company’s business; the costs related to the transaction; the risk that anticipated benefits will not be obtained or will not be obtained within the time anticipated; and other key factors that we have indicated could adversely affect our business and financial performance contained in our past and future filings and reports, including those filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Aqua America is not under any obligation — and expressly disclaims any such obligation — to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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