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Bucks County Commissioners say ‘no’ to privatization of sewer system


Updated: Sept. 6, 2022 at 3:39 p.m.

In advance of a rally Wednesday opposing the proposed sale of Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority’s sewer system, each of Bucks County’s three commissioners issued statements Tuesday expressing their opposition to the privatization deal.

Citing widespread community concern about the $1.1 billion offer from private company Aqua Pennsylvania, Commissioner Chairman Bob Harvie said, “I believe the board of the BCWSA will do what is necessary to end discussions with Aqua, Inc.”

Harvie noted the authority has “been acting as they should” and said, “I respect their professionalism and their efforts to be transparent through this process.”

Despite the enormous amount of money the county would realize from the sale, Harvie said, “I cannot say that I feel comfortable with this transaction.”

Commissioner Vice Chairwoman Diane Ellis-Marseglia said, she too, is opposed to the privatization of the sewer system.

“I have carefully reviewed all information available regarding this sale and cannot recommend that the BCWSA continue to entertain Aqua, Inc.’s proposal.” Marseglia said. “Fear of ballooning rates, as evidenced by similar takeovers around the country, and loss of a well-managed, highly regarded public utility topped the feedback I received.”

Commissioner Gene DiGirolamo joined in rejecting the sale, saying, “the remaining uncertainties around the potential sale, and the sheer amount of public opposition to it, that it is in the best interest of the people Bucks County that the authority end its negotiation with Aqua, Inc.”

NOPE (Neighbors Opposing Privatization Efforts) is holding a rally at 9 a.m. Wednesday in front of the former county courthouse at 55 East Court Street in Doylestown. Harvie and Marseglia are scheduled to address the gathering and the public is invited to attend the commissioners’ regular meeting following the rally and press conference.

“There’s abundant evidence,” NOPE organizers said, that a sale to Aqua would lead to “steep rate hikes, job losses and diminished services.”

Donna Alston, manager of communications for Aqua Pennsylvania, said the company had "no statement at this time."

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