Essential Utilities Inc. Announces Industry-Leading Commitments for Its Water Business
Company will apply New Jersey’s science-based standard for PFAS mitigation across its footprint, well below EPA’s current advisory limit, and invest in renewable energy to significantly reduce its carbon footprint
Essential announced an innovative and proactive step in standardizing its activities to address the presence of the contaminants Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), which are a part of the PFAS family of chemicals, in drinking water across the eight-state Aqua footprint. Beginning in 2020, Essential will make the necessary capital investment in the range of tens of millions of dollars over several years to install mitigation technology at water treatment facilities where source water exceeds 13 parts per trillion (ppt) for any of the three PFAS. PFAS are a concern in communities across the country where groundwater is believed to have been contaminated by nearby military bases or other causes.
Setting a company-wide standard of 13 ppt will enable Essential to address the contaminant uniformly across its footprint, which includes nearly 1,500 water systems in eight states. Currently, the EPA’s PFAS non-enforceable health advisory level is 70 ppt. Although the EPA announced last week it will move to set an enforceable standard around PFOA and PFOS in the future, that federal standard is a few years away. Meanwhile, several states have established or proposed mandatory standards that are much lower, based on the states’ view of the most current science on PFAS exposure risks. Essential chose its standard of 13 ppt for PFOA, PFOS and PFNA to reflect the standards adopted or proposed by
“Since the EPA’s health advisory was released in 2016, we have taken proactive measures to ensure that the water we provide outperforms guidance for the contaminant," said Chief Environmental Officer
Also on Thursday, Essential announced it will greatly reduce its carbon footprint by utilizing 100% renewable energy to power water and wastewater operations at Aqua’s
This progressive move builds upon the substantial investment in renewable energy already underway in Essential’s Aqua Texas operations. The Aqua utilities will continue to seek opportunities to expand their renewable energy programs to additional service areas wherever possible.
“Our Aqua water utilities have been in the business of practicing sustainability and corporate social responsibility for more than 130 years. In today’s social and environmental climate, these commitments are more critical than ever,” said Essential Chairman and CEO
Essential has published tear sheets regarding updated Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) disclosures and policies on its website. The company plans to issue an updated ESG report later this year. More information can be found by visiting www.essential.co.
As an Essential company, Aqua serves over 3 million people through its
Following the closing of the Peoples acquisition, Essential will be one of the largest publicly traded water, wastewater and natural gas providers in the
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which generally include words such as “believes,” “expects,” “intends,” “anticipates,” “estimates” and similar expressions. The Company can give no assurance that any actual or future results or events discussed in these statements will be achieved. Any forward-looking statements represent its views only as of today and should not be relied upon as representing its views as of any subsequent date. Readers are cautioned that such forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties that could cause the company’s actual results to differ materially from the statements contained in this release. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to statements relating to the capital to be invested by the water, wastewater, and gas distribution divisions of the Company. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including the factors discussed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K and our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, which is filed with the