The Struggle To Keep Water Services In The Public Is Only Just Beginning
Pennsylvania - In early September, the three county commissioners of Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia, voted down a $1.1 billion bid from Aqua Pennsylvania to buy their sewer system. This response to an outpouring of citizen concern about what would have been the largest privatization of a public wastewater system in the country illuminates a larger story — both of the encroachment of privatization and the potential for victories when citizens mobilize around its costs. Aqua had been systematically buying up smaller water systems for years. In New Garden in southeastern Pennsylvania, Bill Ferguson saw his wastewater rates jump nearly 70 percent in the few years after Aqua purchased his township’s sewer system in 2017.