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February 9, 2010
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NAWC President Charles V. Firlotte Appointed to Board of Duoyuan Global Water

Charles Firlotte was recently appointed to the board of directors of Duoyuan Global Water Inc., a leading China-based domestic water treatment equipment supplier. Firlotte is president and chief executive officer of Aquarion Company and president of NAWC.

Wenhua Guo, Duoyuan’s chairman and chief executive officer, stated, "On behalf of the board of directors and management, I am delighted to welcome Mr. Firlotte to Duoyuan Global Water. We look forward to benefiting from his experience with improving operational efficiencies and service delivery in the water industry to further drive the future success of Duoyuan."

Michael Deane, NAWC executive director, said, “Many of the challenges faced by communities all over the world are similar. Providing sustainable solutions efficiently and affordably is a universal goal – or at least should be – and we in the U.S. have much to learn from our colleagues around the world, and much to share. A Chinese company reaching out to an American executive is recognition and confirmation of this.”

Duoyuan Global Water, founded in 1992, researches and develops advanced technologies and products for water treatment. Through R&D, Duoyuan supplies has advanced water treatment equipment for a broad base of end users throughout China, including residential, industrial and commercial activities.


Aqua America's DeBenedictis to Remain CEO through January 2013

Nicholas DeBenedictis

Aqua America Inc. announced that at the request of the company's board of directors, Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis has entered into an Employment Agreement under which he will continue as the company's CEO for three years through Jan. 31, 2013.

"When the board extended me an offer to remain as CEO for another three years, I accepted enthusiastically," said DeBenedictis, who joined the company as CEO in July 1992 and was named chairman in May 1993.

Aqua America's Corporate Governance Committee Chairman Richard H. Glanton said the board is extremely delighted that DeBenedictis has agreed to remain as the leader of Aqua's management team for the next three years. "Mr. DeBenedictis' performance has been extraordinary at Aqua, allowing the company to experience unprecedented growth in an extremely competitive regulatory environment over the past 17 years," said Glanton. He has not only distinguished himself as an exemplary business leader in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, but also as one of the leading executives of the water industry in America. When you consider all that has been accomplished under his exemplary leadership, you can't help but be excited and optimistic about the company's future and prospects for years to come."

When DeBenedictis joined the company, then Philadelphia Suburban Corporation, in 1992, it had just one operating utility – Philadelphia Suburban Water Company – providing drinking water to 237,000 customers in four Pennsylvania counties outside Philadelphia. Its annual revenues were $88.6 million and its market capitalization was $126 million. Since that time, DeBenedictis developed and executed a growth-through-acquisition strategy that has expanded its customer base to approximately 1 million customers in 14 states, with annual revenue exceeding $650 million and a market capitalization of approximately $2.3 billion. A shareholder of Aqua at year-end 1991 would have realized a total return of more than 1,000 percent at year-end 2009. During the same period, the company increased the dividend 19 times and split the stock six times.

"I am honored by the board's confidence in the direction the Aqua management team is taking the company," said DeBenedictis. "I am excited about the growth opportunities ahead for what I believe is the best managed, most financially sound and most efficient and fastest-growing U.S. water utility. I share the credit for these accomplishments with an excellent management team and one of the hardest working and most committed workforces in the country. I look forward to working for what I consider the best U.S. water company."


Water Research Foundation Appoints NAWC Board Member Dennis W. Doll to Board of Trustees

The Water Research Foundation recently named National Association of Water Companies (NAWC) Board Member Dennis W. Doll, chief executive officer of Middlesex Water Company, to a three-year term on its board of trustees beginning June 2010. With Doll’s election, Middlesex joins NAWC member Diane Kruger of Golden State Water Company on the governing body of the Foundation.

“Water utilities face complex challenges, and the Water Research Foundation provides an outstanding resource by conducting research to help meet and overcome those challenges,” Charles V. Firlotte, president and CEO of Aquarion Water and president of the NAWC board of directors. “Dennis’ engagement on the NAWC board has been extraordinary, and I’m confident that he and representatives of other NAWC member companies will contribute greatly to the good work of the Water Research Foundation as it continues to address the important issues of water conservation, the impacts of climate change on water resources, reduced energy consumption and many others.”

The Water Research Foundation is a member-supported, international, nonprofit organization that conducts research to better enable water utilities, public health agencies and other professionals to provide safe and affordable drinking water to consumers. Since its inception, the foundation has sponsored more than $460 million in research, completing more than 800 research projects.

“I’m thrilled that Dennis Doll will be joining the Water Research Foundation board. During his tenure, his knowledge of and experience in the private water industry will be extremely valuable for the organization and the future of water provision around the world,” said Robert C. Renner, executive director of the Water Research Foundation.

Doll has spent 25 years in the private water business, joining Middlesex Water as executive vice president in 2004 and assuming his current position in 2006. Previously, Doll worked for nearly 20 years with the Elizabethtown Water Company.


Design-Build For Water/Wastewater Conference To Be Held April 19-21

Hosted by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA), this three-day event will begin with keynote speaker Debra Coy, senior water industry analyst. Coy will discuss water industry and environmental policy issues, which she has followed for more than 20 years. Additionally, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will present a “Real-Time Situational Analysis” where attendees will learn about SFPUC’s $4+ billion wastewater program, and openly discuss the challenges and opportunities of design-build. Other topics addressed will be: Procurement and Contracting; Project Delivery and Risk; Design-Build Teaming; and Innovations and Case Studies.


SouthWest Water Names Ben Smith Interim Chief Financial Officer

SouthWest Water Company named Ben Smith interim chief financial officer, succeeding David B. Stanton, who is no longer with the company. Smith has been serving as SouthWest Water's principal accounting officer since May 2009. A Certified Public Accountant, he joined the company as divisional chief financial officer of its contract services group in 2006 and was promoted to the corporate level as vice president of financial services in January 2008.

"Ben brings to his new role excellent operational accounting experience and more than a decade of financial management leadership," said Mark A. Swatek, SouthWest Water's chief executive officer and president. "He was instrumental in successfully guiding the company through its recent financial review. His deep knowledge of the company will help ensure a smooth transition."

Prior to joining SouthWest Water, Smith served as a manager at Calpine Power America, where he was responsible for retail and customer service operations, assisting the marketing team with strategy and analyzing accounting systems. Previously, he held executive management positions with Commerce Restructuring, LLC, and Veras Investment Partners. Smith earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in accounting from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.


American States Water Company Announces Election of New Director

Effective Jan. 22, American States Water Company elected James F. McNulty as a director, to serve until the company’s annual meeting in 2011 or until his successor is duly elected and qualified. McNulty was also elected as a director of two of the company’s subsidiaries, Golden State Water Company and Chaparral City Water Company.

“Mr. McNulty has very strong engineering and construction credentials, combined with in-depth knowledge of business development and project management,” said Lloyd E. Ross, chairman of the board of directors. “We are delighted to have him join the Board of Directors of the company.”

Following a distinguished 24-year career in the Army, McNulty retired as a colonel and joined Parsons Corporation, an international engineering, construction and technical and management services firm, in 1988. McNulty retired as chairman and chief executive officer of Parsons Corporation in 2008, after 20 years of service, and continues to retain his position as a director on the Parsons’ board. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point and two master’s degrees, one in nuclear physics from Ohio State University and one in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Blackman Named Community Manager of Cinco Ranch, Planned Community in Katy, Texas

Severn Trent Services has announced the appointment of Jason Blackman as community manager of Cinco Ranch, located in Katy, Texas. Cinco Ranch is a community managed by Planned Community Management Inc. (PCMI) in Houston. PCMI, a division of Severn Trent Services, serves as a management consultant and operations agent for master-planned communities, planned residential developments and commercial associations throughout the Houston and Austin metropolitan areas and surrounding counties, including Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller, Chambers, Jefferson, Galveston, Brazoria, Travis and Williamson.

Specializing in large-scale, residential, master-planned communities, Blackman brings more than 14 years experience in community association management to his position. He is a Certified Large Scale Manager® (one of only 42 in the United States) and a Professional Community Association Manager®. In addition to his experience as a paralegal, Blackman’s background includes general contracting and “green” facility management. He has served as a homeowners’ association board member and landscape committee member as well as having performed commercial, financial and asset management services in prior positions.


La Vergne, Tenn., Water Treatment Plant Wins Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The La Vergne, Tenn., Water Treatment Plant has been awarded a Water Fluoridation Quality Award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The city’s 9.8 million-gallons-per-day surface water treatment plant serves 27,000 residents and has been operated and maintained by Severn Trent Services under a public-private partnership since 2007.

The plant was recognized for its consistent and professional adjustment of the water fluoride content to the optimum level for oral health for 12 consecutive months in 2008. According to Thomas Champagne, project manager for Severn Trent, the city entered into a public-private partnership to ensure high quality water for residents and businesses following citations from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. Significant equipment maintenance needs and process modifications were identified at the start of the relationship, and Severn Trent and the city worked diligently to bring the facility up to optimum operating condition.

Effective modifications have been made to a number of processes that have resulted in improved taste and odor control, compliance with disinfection byproduct regulations, and chemical costs stability at a time when prices had increased. The facility now meets OSHA standards after the addition of needed health and safety equipment, and supplies and the implementation of a new safety training program.

“While process improvements during the first two years of the plant’s operations have been significant,” said Dana Kaas, vice president of operating services for Severn Trent, “we expect future maintenance requirements to normalize through implementation of our predictive and preventive maintenance programs. Recognition such as the award from the CDC is evidence that our mission to provide world-class service has been successful.”


Veolia Water North America's Environmental Commitment Recognized at New England Water Environment Association Ceremony

Three employees from Veolia Water North America (Veolia Water) were recognized last week by the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA) for outstanding work in preserving water quality in New England.

At the awards ceremony, held at the Boston Marriott Copley Place Hotel, Veolia Water's employees took home the 2009 Operator of the Year Award, the Alfred E. Pelonquin Award and the J.J. Courchaine Collections Systems Award.

"The NEWEA awards truly recognize environmental achievement," said Keavin Nelson, Veolia Water North America’s president of northeast and south. "Seeing these employees' professionalism and dedication to water quality acknowledged by such a leading environmental organization is something we're very proud of at Veolia Water."

The three Veolia Water professionals who were recognized for their achievement were:

  • Michael Hodde, of the Veolia Water-operated Woonsocket, R.I., wastewater facility, who received the 2009 Rhode Island Operator of the Year Award, given annually to recognize a high level of interest and performance in wastewater operations and significant contributions to the wastewater field.
  • Scott Goodinson, of the Veolia Water-operated Cranston, R.I., wastewater facility, who received the 2009 Alfred E. Peloquin Award. This award is given annually to an individual who has shown a high level of interest and performance in wastewater operations in each of the six New England states. It recognizes significant contributions to the wastewater field in such areas as improvements to the environment, cost-effective plant operations and related activities. The award is accompanied by a nomination from NEWEA to the Water Environment Foundation for consideration of a national award.
  • Richard Salisbury, also of Cranston, R.I., who received the 2009 J.J. Courchaine Collections Systems Award. The award recognizes outstanding efforts in the operation, maintenance, management and design of a wastewater collection system.

The NEWEA is a volunteer organization of more than 2,100 New England water and wastewater professionals who contribute their energy and expertise to manage the water environment in New England. The organization's awards recognize the best water quality professionals from within the NEWEA organization, plus additional professionals from the public education, journalism, educational institution and municipal utility/public works community from all New England states.

Veolia Water has long been part of the Northeast environmental community, operating facilities on the East coast for more than 25 years. The company employs more than 500 employees in New England.

"Michael Hodde, Scott Goodinson and Richard Salisbury are committed to New England's water quality, and it shows," said Nelson. "At Veolia Water, we take great pride in managing New England's water resources to ensure environmental quality and compliance. These awards are a tangible recognition of these employees' hard work in the communities where they serve."


SouthWest Water Company Honored with Laboratory Person of the Year Award

SouthWest Water Company announced that Laboratory Technician Bonnie Dennedy was selected as recipient of the 2009 Laboratory Person of the Year award from the Northern San Joaquin chapter of the California Water Environmental Association (CWEA). Dennedy, along with her fellow honorees in other categories, was recognized at the chapter's annual awards banquet.

Certified by the California Department of Public Health as a Water Treatment Level 1 Operator, Dennedy is a laboratory technician at the Mountain House Community Services District wastewater treatment facility. SouthWest Water handles the district's water and wastewater treatment, water distribution, sewer collection, storm water, and billing and collections services through a public-private partnership. Dennedy received the award for being instrumental in the initial setup of the district's laboratory as well as for providing quality control and quality assurance testing and documentation that enabled the lab to be certified by the Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (ELAP). Obtaining the certification has dramatically reduced the district's laboratory costs.

The CWEA Northern San Joaquin chapter's awards recognize outstanding professional achievements in the wastewater field. They aim to improve the professional status of all personnel working in the wastewater industry and related fields, and stimulate public awareness of the importance of wastewater treatment to public health and the environment.


Pennsylvania American Water Expands Footprint with Water System Acquisition

Pennsylvania American Water, a wholly owned subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), announced that it has acquired the water system assets of Nittany Water Company in north-central Pennsylvania. The purchase price of the newly acquired system, which serves nearly 1,500 people in Centre and Clinton counties, is approximately $520,000.

The transaction provides Pennsylvania American Water with its first operation in Clinton County, expanding the company’s footprint to 36 counties across the state. With this acquisition, Pennsylvania American Water takes over a troubled water system with a history of water outages, frequent main breaks and service reliability issues due to aging infrastructure. According to Pennsylvania American Water President Kathy L. Pape, the acquisition provides a long-term solution for customers of the water system, which has been under a Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) consent order since July 2008 over service reliability issues.

“This transaction will mean the lifting of DEP’s consent order, because we are committing the technical expertise and resources needed to address the service reliability problems that these customers have experienced for years,” said Pape. “Also, the acquisition serves as further evidence of meaningful water system regionalization, since it represents our eighth acquisition in the Centre County-Clearfield County area in the past 20 years.”

Over the next few years, Pennsylvania American Water plans to make needed investments to replace and rehabilitate the aging pipe, which has caused numerous main breaks and water outages for the system’s customers in portions of Walker Township, Centre County and portions of Porter Township, Clinton County.

This purchase follows Pennsylvania American Water’s 2009 acquisitions of four municipal water systems in north-central and western Pennsylvania. Last October, the company acquired the water system assets of the Wallaceton Municipal Authority in Clearfield County; Boggs Township Municipal Authority, Centre County; Amwell Township Water Authority, Washington County; and Saxonburg Area Authority in Butler County.


American Water Is Awarded Research Grant from WateReuse Foundation

American Water Works Company Inc. announced that it has been awarded a research grant by the WateReuse Foundation to examine disinfection guidelines for satellite water recycling facilities in a joint research project with MWH. Dr. Joseph Jacangelo of MWH is the project's principle investigator and Dr. Mark LeChevallier of American Water is the co-investigator.

The project, valued at $634,394, will examine disinfection requirements for water recycling systems against California standards. In 2004, the United States Environmental Protection Agency issued updated guideline recommendations for water reuse, and each state has adopted regulations and guidelines differently, with California (under Title 22) recognized as one of the states with the most comprehensive set of high-effluent water treatment process requirements.

"It is important to evaluate satellite treatment technology in terms of California regulations and measure performance findings against requirements from other states to determine methods of disinfection suitable for nonpotable water," said Dr. Mark LeChevallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship. "The outcome of this research could reduce the size and cost of chlorine contact basins, and allow the water industry to implement more environmentally friendly technologies."


New England NAWC Chapter Hosts Successful Regulatory Event

The New England Chapter of NAWC recently hosted a successful event in Connecticut, Meeting the Challenges for Sustainable Water Utilities in Connecticut’s Regulatory Structure. There were approximately 70 attendees, including representatives of seven utilities and 28 participants from the DPUC, OCC and the Department of Public Health (DPH).

The program included an overview by DPUC Commissioner Betkoski of the role of the various state and federal agencies overseeing and supporting water in Connecticut. The commissioner talked about the extent of regulation by EPA as well as the state agencies, DPH, DPUC and Department of Environmental Protection, and spoke about the efforts of the state’s Water Planning Council to integrate the regulation and planning of water utilities in Connecticut.

The current president of NAWC, Chuck Firlotte, president and CEO of Aquarion Water, joined with Eric Thornburg, president and CEO of Connecticut Water, in presenting Water 101 – The Path to Sustainability. An experienced team of rates practitioners in Connecticut – Pete Bancroft, director of rates and forecasting for Connecticut Water; Richard Sobolewski, Office of Consumer Counsel; David Daggett, CPA; and Troy Dixon, director of rates and regulation, Aquarion Water Company – joined to present the rate case process in Connecticut.

Walton Hill, senior vice president of regulator relations at United Water, discussed the NARUC resolution supporting regulatory policies deemed to be “best practices.” David Bogan of Robinson and Cole, and Maureem Westbrook of Connecticut Water Company led a lively panel discussion on best practices featuring Walton Hill; Susan Suhanovsky, president, Torrington Water; Don Morrissey, CFO, Aquarion Water Company; Rich Sobolewski, OCC; and Jim Vocolina, DPUC.

At the end of the meeting, the consensus was that the program and the participation by the attendees helped to further the NARUC best practice of “improved communication.” The program was a great step in enhancing dialogue between utilities and regulators outside of formal rate proceedings.