Aqua America Inc. will spend $400,000 to improve the public water supply in Honesdale Borough that may eradicate a long-standing arsenic problem in the water here.


Aqua America Inc. will spend $400,000 to improve the public water supply in Honesdale Borough that may eradicate a long-standing arsenic problem in the water here.
Aqua CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis made the investment announcement on Thursday at an open house for the company’s new regional headquarters in Honesdale Borough.
“We are here to stay ... and intend to live up to our reputation,” said DeBenedictis, whose company took over Honesdale Consolidated Water in October 2008. “We’re very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish.”
The plan includes cleaning up one water supply well that has had persistent problems with naturally occurring arsenic, an issue that Honesdale Consolidated Water dealt with and did not resolve prior to the takeover.
“We actually awarded the ($400,000) contract last week,” said Steve Clark, Honesdale division manager, when asked by The Wayne Independent about the arsenic issue.
State Department of Environmental Protection records show that one particular well, of six in the system, registered high levels of arsenic during the years when it was owned by Honesdale Consolidated Water.
Arsenic, which is a cancer causing agent, was present at a volume that required the state environmental agency to issue multiple violation notices to the company, most recently five in 2007 and two in 2006.
The records show, however, that since Aqua’s takeover arsenic levels have dropped considerably.
“It’s almost non-detectable,” said Clark.
He noted that it is present at a level slightly more than one part per billion, as measured in the Honesdale water system.
Aqua America Inc. did receive two notices of violation this year for concentrations of arsenic just above the drinking water standard.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency has set the arsenic standard at 10 parts per billion for drinking water to protect the public from long-term exposure.
Studies show that arsenic at a concentration of 10 parts per billion or more may cause health problems, including various forms of cancer.
Arsenic is a naturally occurring element widely distributed in the earth's crust, along with synthetic forms created for industrial applications, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry.
It is odorless and tasteless.
Aqua America Inc. also purchased water systems in the Hawley and Waymart communities, along with others in Lackawanna, Monroe, and Pike counties.
The company serves approximately 5,000 customers in Honesdale Borough, Texas Township, and the greater community.