Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Harrisburg to interview 4 companies as it ponders selling water/sewer system

Capital Region Water at work on Allison Hill in Harrisburg

Harrisburg has received six responses to a request for information as it considers privatizing its water/sewer system.

Of those six, the city administration plans to interview four respondents due to their “experience operating comparable systems,” according to a statement from the city administration. They are all significant municipal water system companies with existing operations in the commonwealth:

  • Bryn Mawr-based Aqua America
  • Hershey-based PA American Water
  • Paramus, N.J.-based Suez North America
  • Boston-based Veolia American Water

The city will interview representatives from these four companies starting tomorrow and concluding on Oct. 8, according to Mayor Eric Papenfuse’s office.

In July, the administration released a “request for information” to gauge preliminary interest from companies in acquiring the city’s water/sewer system, setting a response deadline of Sept. 16.

Papenfuse has repeatedly said that the request for information was just a first step and that no decision has been made on whether to pursue privatization.

“We’re just in the information-gathering, due diligence mode,” he told Harrisburg City Council last week.

Papenfuse has also pledged public meetings in case the city does decide to proceed with selling the system. Currently, municipal utility authority Capital Region Water serves 20,300 water customers and 17,000 wastewater connections.

During a council meeting in August, numerous city residents spoke out against privatizing the system, and the administration has also received pushback from city council members.

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