Does the mid-sized Pennsylvania town of Chester actually own its Water Authority? The state’s Supreme Court is now weighing in.
In the September decision of the lower court, it ruled that Chester was the sole owner of CWA. This prompted Chester City Council to enter into a asset purchase agreement with Aqua. On the other hand, CWA is arguing that it is an independent and separate entity from Chester thus, the authority filed an appeal with the Supreme Court.
The Court will now hear CWA’s appeal on two issues: whether Chester has a right to sell the assets of CWA and whether the lower court erred in not following a precedent that only an authority can authorize transfer? WHYY further reported:
Excited to have the opportunity to present arguments before the state Supreme Court, Francis Catania, the solicitor for the CWA, told WHYY News that he is appreciative of the court recognizing the “hugely important issue” in its Monday order. “Water is fundamental to life, so I can’t overstate the importance of the court addressing the issue. What underlies the whole case is the public control over their own water — their own drinking water,” Catania said.
Based in the city of Chester, the CWA is one of the region’s largest public water systems, serving more than 200,000 people across 37 municipalities in both Delaware and Chester counties. The large customer base caught the attention of Aqua Pennsylvania, one of the largest water and wastewater service providers in the region that already serves about 1.5 million people across the state.
While the spokesperson for the city of Chester did not respond to WHYY News’ request for comment, Aqua said in a statement that the Commonwealth Court got it right and that it’s “in the best interest of the city of Chester and CWA customers” for the deal to go through.