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Case Study of Springton Reservoir

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Case Study of Springton Reservoir
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What Springton Reservoir Could Mean for Octoraro Reservoir

Aqua’s latest tactic to steal CWA from our community is reaching out to conservation groups that have openly supported CWA. Aqua is weaving a tale that they will allow our community continued access to Octoraro Reservoir.

Can they be trusted? Will they make any “promises” to gain control of the land at the Octoraro reservoir? Let’s look at communities, just like ours, throughout the state, and even more importantly, in their own proposal for the purchase of CWA.

This is a sampling of what was done to the reservoirs in other communities:

  • Springton Reservoir, Delaware County—fenced off, no public access, fishing banned.
  • Pickering Creek Reservoir, Chester County—fenced off, no public access, fishing banned.
  • Churchville Reservoir, Bucks County—gated road, fishing banned.

 If Aqua wants to prove that they have our community’s best interest at heart, why have they not opened up all of the reservoirs that they own to their local communities—take down the fences, allow fishing, and allow public access. Place all of the reservoirs and those land holdings into environmental trusts in perpetuity? Proof is in action not in words. Actions like CWA’s support of our community for the last 80 plus years.

Aqua’s latest goal is to divide our community’s base of support for the SAVE CWA effort. We must stand united and strong together. Water privatization is wrong; it hurts communities like ours on every level. While Aqua’s goal is to buy up as many water and wastewater rights as possible to make as much money as possible for their shareholders, CWA’s mission is to provide quality, affordable water.

As Pennsylvanians, you have rights to natural resources.

Pennsylvania Constitution. Article I, Section 27: “The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.”

If contacted by Aqua, please notify: CWA Solicitor info@chesterwater.com Our public natural resources are the common property of all of us as PA residents. That is why CWA wants to place its public assets in an environmental trust and that’s exactly why Aqua is trying to stop us. Stand strong with CWA as your trusted community partner since 1939.

Please continue reading for a case study of Springton Reservoir and a discussion of Aqua’s own proposal for CWA. Don’t miss the photos on pages 5-7.

We thank you for your ongoing support. If you have further questions or are contacted by Aqua, we ask that you reach out to us at info@chesterwater.com. As always, we are here to help.

Case Study of Springton Reservoir in Delaware County

In the early 2000s, Aqua Pennslyvania, the owner of Springton Reservoir, made the reservoir inaccessible to the general public—turning the public reservoir into a private reserve.

  • After 9/11, Aqua claimed that terrorism is the reason why people who previously enjoyed fishing, hiking and wildlife for decades cannot use the reservoir. (See statement page 9.)
  • But people actually live there—right on the Springton Reservoir, right now.
  • Aqua sold the lakefront of the Springton Reservoir to land developers. They created Springton Lake Village—an exclusive retirement community for seniors.

It boasts 40 luxury homes that range up to over $600K in a private, lakefront location with spectacular seasonal views (and walking paths) of Springton Lake Reservoir. Read for yourself at: springtonlakevillage.com/our-lifestyle/recreation

Springton Lake Village Recreation Page Screen Capture
Screen Capture of Springton Lake Village Website – Recreation Page

Read for yourself at: https://springtonlakevillage.com/our-lifestyle/recreation/

Philadelphia Suburban (Aqua/Essential) CEO sought a “useful way to develop the 23 acres of forest on the reservoir”

Springton Lake Village History Website Page Screen Capture
Screen Capture of Springton Lake Village Website – History Page

Read for yourself at: https://springtonlakevillage.com/who-we-are/history/

Aqua wanted to squeeze every drop of profit out of the land.

  • There really wasn’t a terrorist threat to the water after all. Instead, by closing the fishing area and fencing off all public access, Aqua preserved the beautiful view exclusively for Springton Lake Village residents. Did assuring private access for Springton Lake Village increase the land value when they sold it for over $3.5M? (See deed on the next page.)
  • In 2011, Marple Township Commissioners attempted to rezone 25 acres along the Springton Reservoir as Open Space. Aqua refused to change it from being zoned Residential. Did they want to leave it available for additional future land development?  
  • Aqua has been approaching conservation groups saying that they won’t develop the land around the Octoraro Reservoir and will leave it open to the public. If that’s true, why is Aqua trying to block CWA from putting their own public assets into an environmental trust? Page 4 Do you really think that Aqua will keep the Octoraro Reservoir open to the public if they can make more money through land development?
  • Aqua is a for-profit company. Their mission is to make money for their shareholders. Nothing and no one will stand in the way of that goal.
  • Corporations like Aqua have deep financial pockets. They spend money on lobbyists who promote legislation that favor for-profit water companies. They make sizable donations to political campaigns.
  • They keep their eye on the prize and are excellent at playing the long game.

They make promises now, but later, once the current community has forgotten or moved elsewhere, will they start developing the Octoraro Reservoir much like the Springton Reservoir?  Will residents see the Octoraro Lake Villages?

From the deed granted to the Springton Lake Village Developer:

Excerpt from deed granted to the Springton Lake Village developer
Excerpt from the deed granted to the Springton Lake Village developer

What Springton Reservoir looks like to residents at Springton Lake Village

Photo collage of Springton Lake Reservoir as it appears for residents of Springton Lake Village
Photo collage of what Springton Reservoir looks like to residents of Springton Lake Village

What Springton Reservoir looks like to everyone else

Photo collage of what Springton Reservoir looks like to everyone else
Photo collage of what Springton Reservoir looks like to everyone else
Additional photos of the Springton Reservoir for everyone else
Additional photos of the Springton Reservoir for everyone else

Segments from the RFP submitted to the City of Chester by Essential* (Aqua).

NO WHERE in their proposal do they mention the preservation or keeping recreational activities on the Octoraro reservoir. If that was an important part of their plan, why do they not even mention it in their RFP submission? What they do mention is their security measures, including fences, walls, high security gates, and high visibility surveillance equipment. Please note the highlighted text related to reservoirs.

From Aqua’s proposal, pages 26-27

Safety and Security Since 9/11

Essential has invested about $20 million on security improvements to its facilities. Essential is legally required to maintain operational security both through the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards and through accountability, specifically:

  • Conduct vulnerability assessments (utilities of > 3,300 customers);
  • Maintain updated emergency response plans;
  • Report incidents (increase in regulation);
  • Preventing and responding to potential attacks/no negligence (a general warning could be considered notice of a potentially hazardous condition); and,
  • Company and Board has an obligation to take reasonable steps to protect assets. 27 CONFIDENTIAL Essential considers its dams, reservoirs, tanks and plants to be critical components of its Wastewater systems. Essential’s goals are to deter, detect, delay and respond.
  • Deter: Use fences, walls, high security gates, and high visibility surveillance equipment. The company has approximately 1,000 cameras currently in use.
  • Detect: Aqua America is heavily focused on detection because it is crucial to quickly determine the timing and nature of intrusion to successfully react.
  • Delay: Enhanced by all properties being fenced-in with electrical locks; buildings have hardened windows and doors, including administrator-controlled doors. Validates authorized key holders, and critical access-ways have high security gates and locks.
  • Respond: Essential has a reporting structure and process which includes alarm systems and notifying the appropriate authorities.

Statement from Christopher H. Franklin, then VP of Public Affairs and Customer Operations of Aqua America (currently the CEO of Aqua America), posted to Philly.com on June 14, 2004.

Excerpt from a statement from Christopher H. Franklin, then VP of Public Affairs and Customer Operation of Aqua America
Excerpt from a statement from Christopher H. Franklin

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