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January 26, 2010
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Help for Our Neighbors in Haiti

The devastating earthquake in Haiti is appropriately at the top of everyone’s mind. The recovery efforts are underway but the complex road ahead is a stark reminder of how fragile the world is. We are able only to react to what Mother Nature throws at us, but the measure of this reaction is more than noteworthy.

Global relief efforts have revealed a great humanity and are a humbling demonstration of how connected we all are in this global community. NAWC and fellow members of the water community have rallied to support our neighbors in Haiti in a number of ways: making financial donations to global relief organizations, deploying rescue personnel and helping to plan the reconstruction effort.

Veolia Water's specialists operating under the banner of Veoliaforce, Veolia Environment's crisis response team, are on the ground and are leveraging their water expertise to bring immediate aid. Veoliaforce and the Veolia Environment Foundation have sent 20 tons of emergency equipment to Haiti and portable water treatment units that can supply 15,000 to 20,000 people with drinking water. More aid is being provided.

Colleagues at United Water are working with the founder and director of an aid organization called Wine to Water, a nonprofit aid organization focused on providing clean water to needy people around the world, with a history of providing clean water and sanitation in Haiti and other countries including Sudan, India, Cambodia, Uganda and Ethiopia. United Water is also sponsoring a portable water treatment unit with one of its public-private partners, the City of Rahway, NJ, to be sent to Haiti in early February.

United Water’s parent company, Suez Environment, is working through Aquassistance, Suez Environment’s humanitarian organization. With employees specialized in emergency aid, the group has already sent an expert to the site on a flight chartered by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. An emergency team dedicated to the assessment of the needs for the relief effort is currently working on an overall plan which includes mobilizing employees, providing its expertise and materials necessary to restore the drinking water production facilities in Port-au-Prince, which produce 32 million gallons per day from 14 wells.

We continue to monitor the situation closely to identify opportunities to provide our expertise in water, dedicate our resources, and commit our thoughts and prayers to those impacted by this devastating situation. If you, or your company, are actively involved in relief efforts in Haiti, please let us know so we can share your activities and attempt to bolster support for the people so deeply impacted by this disaster.


Aqua America Launches Georgia Subsidiary with New Wastewater Acquisition

Aqua America Inc. announced that it has acquired a wastewater treatment, disposal and re-use system in Lumpkin County, Ga. 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.

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, Ga., to announce Recovery Act
broadband grant and loan program awards, which officials expect will 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. The 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 3 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.


Middlesex Water Company Names Richard M. Risoldi Chief Operating Officer

Middlesex Water Company has announced the appointment of Richard M. Risoldi as vice president of operations and chief operating officer, effective Jan. 1, 2010. Risoldi has overall responsibility for water and wastewater operations across the various Middlesex entities. He was named to the position following the retirement of Ronald F. Williams, who held the office since 1995.

Risoldi brings more than 25 years of experience in water and wastewater operations to his new position. Risoldi joined the company in 1989 and was promoted to director of production in 1998, where he was responsible for the operation and maintenance of the company's treatment and pumping facilities. He was promoted to assistant vice president of operations in 2003 and named vice president of subsidiary operations in May 2004, with responsibility for regulated subsidiary operations and business development. Risoldi serves as president and board member of Pinelands Water and Wastewater Companies, Utility Service Affiliates Inc., and Utility Service Affiliates (Perth Amboy) Inc. He also serves as director and corporate officer for the company's Delaware subsidiaries, Tidewater Utilities Inc., Tidewater Environmental Services Inc. and White Marsh Environmental Systems Inc.

Risoldi was formally employed by the City of Trenton Water Department as the chief of water quality and with the North Jersey District Water Supply Commission as assistant supervisor of water quality.

"As our company continues to evolve, Rick's versatility in water and wastewater operations, technology and business development will be invaluable in helping us execute our plans for growth and further operational excellence," said Dennis W. Doll, president and chief executive officer. "I congratulate Rick on his new role and I look forward to the further value I expect he will contribute to the company and its customers, employees and shareholders," said Doll.

Risoldi's professional affiliations include the American Water Works Association (New Jersey Section), the Water Environment Federation and the New Jersey Utilities Association. A professional licensed operator in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, he holds a B.S. in Science from Rutgers University.


Veolia Water North America Honored for Technical Excellence and Community Commitment

The largest U.S. public-private wastewater partnership between Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Veolia Water North America was nationally recognized with a 2009 Public Service Award from the National Council for Public-Private Partnerships (NCPPP). This prestigious award recognizes exemplary projects and services that illustrate best practices and innovative approaches in the use of public-private partnerships to serve communities.

The NCPPP awarded the MMSD/Veolia Water partnership the honor in the "Service" category for its role in reliably and cost-effectively leveraging innovative technologies and improving wastewater processes to serve 1.1 million people, while developing community initiatives, sustainability programs, workforce development and R&D programs.

"In 2008, after a public competitive bid process, MMSD partnered with Veolia Water to help us carry out our core mission of protecting the environment and improving water quality," said Kevin Shafer, MMSD executive director. "We're pleased to have teamed up with a partner that shares not only our strong commitment to protecting Lake Michigan but also to serving the community," added Shafer.

As part of its role as a wastewater partner, Veolia Water delivers technically adept wastewater treatment services. But MMSD and Veolia Water also work closely on community issues like workforce development, supplier diversity, sustainable development, community outreach, and funding for research and development.

"We are pleased that our partnership with MMSD gives us the opportunity to augment award-winning operations and maintenance services with programs that serve the public beyond pipes-and-pumps infrastructure," said Scott Royer, general manager for Veolia Water Milwaukee.

During its selection process, NCPPP considered Veolia Water's activities in Milwaukee, including:

  • Activating a minority supplier advisory committee to address capacity issues in the minority business community;
  • Developing an Operator-in-Training program to address the gap between employment vacancies and a trained workforce;
  • Conducting educational facility tours for students and teachers to explain the environmental process of water treatment;
  • Launching a $1.5 million R&D program to support Great Lakes clean water initiatives, in conjunction with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Marquette University and the Great Lakes Water Institute; and
  • Achieving perfect environmental compliance with NPDES permits.

"The awards selection process was highly competitive," said Richard Norment, executive director for the National Council of Public Private Partnerships. "The Veolia/MMSD project stood out as an exceptional example."

Presentation of the awards was made at the NCPPP Annual Awards Banquet held in conjunction with the council's Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Ariz. The NCPPP is a nonprofit educational institute that promotes public-private partnerships best practices. Membership is made up of both the public and private sectors. Information about the council and its activities can be found here.

MMSD is a regional government agency that provides water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million customers in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area, covering 411 square miles that include all, or segments of, six watersheds. Established by state law, the district is governed by 11 commissioners. Besides its core responsibility, MMSD also handles water quality research, household hazardous waste collection, pharmaceutical collection, industrial waste monitoring, laboratory services, and Milorganite, a fertilizer trusted by professionals for more than eighty years.

Veolia Water North America began operations and maintenance of Milwaukee's Jones Island and South Shore water reclamation facilities and the District's conveyance and Deep Tunnel systems in March 2008, as Veolia Water Milwaukee under contract to Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. The two wastewater treatment plants have a combined processing capacity of 630 million gallons per day. The project is the largest wastewater public-private partnership in North America.

Veolia Water North America is the leading provider of comprehensive water and wastewater partnership services to municipal and industrial customers, providing services to more than 14 million people in approximately 650 communities. Veolia Water, the water division of Veolia Environnement, is the world leader in water and wastewater services. Specialized in outsourcing services for municipal authorities as well as industrial and service companies, it is also one of the world's major designers of technological solutions and constructor of facilities needed in water and wastewater services. With 93,400 employees worldwide, Veolia Water provides water service to 80 million people and wastewater service to 59 million.

American Water’s Visionaire Project Receives Environmental Award

American Water recently announced that it has earned a Project Merit award in the 2009 Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) Business Achievement Awards. American Water was recognized in the Water/Wastewater category for developing a sustainable water treatment solution at the Visionaire, a luxury residential condominium in New York City's Battery Park City. The 2009 EBJ awards will be presented in a ceremony at Environmental Industry Summit VIII, an annual three-day event in Coronado, Calif., on March 3, 2010.

The Visionaire is the fifth in a series of green residential buildings with water recycling systems designed and operated by American Water’s Applied Water Management Group. Developed by the Albanese Organization and designed by architect Rafael Pelli, the Visionaire is a 33-story, 251-unit tower that is considered to be the greenest high-rise residential condominium in the United States. The Visionaire features a central water filtration system and advanced wastewater treatment system with a capacity to recycle 25,000 gallons per day for toilet flushing and air-conditioning cooling systems, and a stormwater collection system that captures and stores up to 12,000 gallons to irrigate the building’s rooftop gardens and adjacent park. These water-saving measures, along with energy and water-efficient appliances, allow the Visionaire to use 55 percent less potable water than a residential development of similar size.

“It is gratifying to see the Visionaire receive this recognition from the environmental community,” said Tim Davies, president of Applied Water Management. “We hope that our work in this area helps pave the way for more residential developments to implement water recycling systems to help achieve sustainability and ease the strain on water infrastructure and supplies.”

This is the second time American Water has been recognized by the EBJ awards. In 2008, the Solaire, which was the first of these five green residential buildings in Battery Park City, was awarded a Project Merit in the Water/Wastewater category.

The Environmental Business Journal Achievement Awards annually recognize companies and executives for environmental achievements seen as outperforming the market. American Water will be among the winners featured in Environmental Business Journal’s Executive Review issue in late January.

California American Water Appoints Edward A. Simon II to Vice President of Operations

California American Water appointed Edward Simon II to vice president of operations. Simon brings more than 20 years of customer service, operations support and operations experience to the position.

“Ed brings experience that will greatly strengthen our operations in California,” said
California American Water President Ron MacLean. “He brings a skill set and a proven track record of running a very tight ship. We are very lucky to have someone of his caliber joining our team.”

At his new post, Simon will oversee all operations within California American Water’s service districts. His responsibilities will include managing operations at all of the company’s well, tank and treatment facilities as well as most of its field staff. Simon, who previously worked as an operations manager for Missouri American Water, has experience in operations and operations support management within the water industry, including eight years with American Water. During his tenure in Missouri, Simon managed the field customer service activities in the company’s St. Louis County operations, one of its largest service districts. He also worked in customer service and business support, which included directing the creation of a comprehensive customer relations team that currently contributes operational support to a wide range of functions within much of the company’s central and western states.

Simon graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Fontbonne University. An original St. Louis native, Simon has relocated and will be based in Coronado, Calif.


Utilities Inc. Announces New Chief Operating Officer

Utilities Inc., a national water and wastewater service corporation, is pleased to announce the appointment of John Hoy to Chief Operating Officer. Hoy fills the position vacated by Lisa Sparrow who was appointed to President of Utilities Inc. in December 2009.

Hoy started with the company in 2006 as regional vice president of operations and served as chief regulatory officer since July 2007. “John has proven himself as an asset to both operations and the company as a whole,” said Utilities Inc. President Lisa Sparrow. "He has a longstanding demonstrated commitment to process, strong financial performance and operational excellence. We look forward to his outstanding leadership taking the operations team forward.”

Prior to joining Utilities Inc., Hoy spent 25 years in a variety of engineering, financial, investor relations and operational roles at We Energies, the largest utility in the state of Wisconsin. He is a Professional Engineer and holds a bachelor’s degree in civil/environmental engineering and an MBA from Marquette University.


Aqua America Hires 30-Year Finance Veteran as Treasurer

Aqua America Inc. has hired Diana Moy Kelly as treasurer. In this role, Moy Kelly is responsible for managing the company's short- and long-term debt financings, cash management, payroll and accounts payable functions.

Moy Kelly has more than 30 years of treasury and corporate finance experience, including 10 years as an issuer of asset-backed securities in the student loan and consumer auto loan sectors. She also served as assistant treasurer of PECO Energy Company during the deregulation of the electric utility industry in Pennsylvania.

"I am confident that Diana's experience is well-suited for our company and our goal to continue to use our balance sheet to access the capital markets at favorable rates to enhance our major capital program to rebuild our companies' water and wastewater utility infrastructure," said Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. CFO Dave Smeltzer echoed that confidence. "We first engaged Diana in November on an interim basis. We had just six weeks to close a $75 million tax exempt bond, issue a $50 million private placement at 4.72 percent; renew the $70 million Aqua Pennsylvania line of credit and the AA $10 million discretionary line; and convert the Ohio and Illinois lines to one $15 million AA line (saving 50 basis points). Diana completed the job on time and without missing a beat."

Moy Kelly received a B.A. in economics and accounting from the Catholic University of America and an MBA in finance and accounting from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a member of the Philadelphia Treasurers' Club.

NAWC Mourns Loss of Gerald Smith, Former Association President and American Water Executive

Gerald Smith

Gerald Smith, former board member and senior vice president of American Water, and former president of many of its subsidiaries, including Pennsylvania American Water, passed away on Monday, Jan. 4 at the age of 75. Smith was a very active member of NAWC, having served as its president and been named an Honorary Member.

Born in Monessen, Pa., Jerry began his distinguished career in 1952 as a meter reader at the Monongahela Valley Water Corp. in Elizabeth, Penn., a subsidiary of the American Water Works Co. His strong aptitude for the water business and instinctual leadership skills led him to various managerial and executive positions of increasing responsibility, ultimately culminating in 1991 to his being promoted to vice president of American Water Works Inc. and senior vice president of the American Water Works Service Company.

Smith was also president of three Pennsylvania water companies that, under his leadership, merged to form what is now Pennsylvania American Water, where he was aptly known as "Mr. Water." He held several key leadership roles in the American system in other states, as well, including West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio. In addition, he served on the parent company board until the company was sold. He retired in 2003. During his career, Jerry provided water industry expertise as a member of the National Association of Water Companies and the American Water Works Association.

Besides his work for American Water, Jerry was active in the community, serving as president of a number of chambers of commerce, United Way, Junior Achievement, and several of the trade associations affiliated with the water industry. He also served as a volunteer member of the board of directors of Water For People for eight years and was president of that organization for four of those years. Most recently, he served on the boards of Rostraver Township Sewer Authority and Mon-Vale Health Resources.

Like many employees who had the pleasure of working with Smith, Western Pennsylvania Director of Field Operations Deborah Lippert recalls the "indelible mark" he left on everyone he encountered. She notes fondly his "sincere interest, first and foremost, in the personal well-being of every individual with whom he was acquainted." Together with his management skills, expertise and dedication, this trait made him a truly admired and respected leader.

Smith is survived by his wife of 53 years, Rose Marie, two daughters and their families. You may send a personal message to them here.


Nadia Abboud of Severn Trent Services Elected to Water and Wastewater Equipment Manufacturers Association Board

Nadia Abboud, marketing manager of water purification for Severn Trent Services, has been elected to a three-year term on the board of directors of the Water and Wastewater Equipment
Manufacturers Association (WWEMA). WWEMA is a national trade organization representing the interests of North American-based companies that manufacture and supply technologies used in municipal and industrial water and wastewater applications worldwide. The election took place at the organization’s annual meeting on Dec. 21, 2009, in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Abboud will be eligible for a second, three-year term in 2013.

As marketing manager of water purification, Abboud is responsible for marketing Severn Trent Services’ disinfection, filtration and instrumentation technologies on a global basis. The company has designated her as its liaison with the U.S. Commercial Service, the trade promotion unit of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

Abboud is an eight-year veteran of the water and wastewater industry and has been widely published in industry publications. Abboud earned a bachelor’s degree in management with concentrations in international business and Arab and Islamic studies from Villanova University.


California American Water Appoints Monica Na as Statewide Conservation Manager

California American Water has appointed Monica Na as its new water conservation manager.
In her new role, Na will oversee the company’s water efficiency programs throughout the state. Her responsibilities will include managing conservation field staff as well as formulating and implementing conservation programs to fulfill the company’s mission to significantly reduce water use in each of its service districts. She will also oversee the company’s effort to cut water waste within its own operations.

Na comes with a strong background in analytical and organizational management, having managed numerous interdepartmental projects within the Mayor’s Office in Chicago to her most recent role of performing complex financial and program analysis as a management auditor for the City of San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

Water conservation has become a priority for water districts in the state as well as the
California Public Utilities Commission following the recent passage of a bill by the legislature requiring a 20 percent reduction in residential and commercial water use by the year 2020. This, and the historic drought facing the state, have made water conservation an operational necessity for all water utilities.

California American Water has long had in place a robust and innovative conservation program, well before the state’s mandate and looks to continue its role as an industry leader in this regard. This includes intense and seasonal campaigns to educate customers on best conservation practices, issuing rebates for water efficient appliances like clothes washers and toilets as well as conducting home water use audits to look for leaks and other water saving opportunities in order to help residents save water.

“California American Water has always been ahead of the curve when it comes to conservation and hiring someone of Monica’s caliber is just another indication of how committed we are to this vital mission,” said Edward Simon, California American Water’s vice president of operations. “Her obvious skills and impressive work experience make her a perfect fit for our ambitious conservation program.”

Na graduated from the University of Chicago with a master’s degree in public policy studies after having earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley.