Documentary History of American Water-works

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Middle Atlantic States Pennsylvania  White Haven

White Haven, Pennsylvania

White Haven was settled in 1824 and incorporated in 1842.

The Borough of White Haven was authorized to build water works in 1854, and built a gravity system that began service around 1856.

The White Haven Water Company was incorporated in 1865 with Samuel Wallace, Aaron Whittaker, John Brown, S. W. Trimmer, Samuel Hunter, A. F. Peters, Albina Bryan, Charles L. Keck, Theodore Smith, John R. Crellen, Moses Drumheller, Albert Feist and Isaac Ripple were appointed commissioners to form the company "purchase, from the burgess and town council, of the said borough of White Haven, all their water property and improvements."  The company took possession of the water works on September 2, 1865.  The company's charter stated that " shall not charge any private family more than ten dollars per annum for water, or the use thereof," and the company's attempts to raise rates in 1886 was rebuffed by a local court.  The company was more successful in 1903, but the lower court decision was overturned by the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania the following year.  The Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission allowed the company to raise rates in 1922 despite local objections.  An 1871 amendment to the company's charter allowed them to charge a "frontage tax" to any property passed by their pipes, which had earlier been granted to the water company in Allentown (and perhaps others).

The White Borough Municipal Authority bought the system in 1951 for $87,898.

The White Borough Municipal Authority in 2002 sold the water and wastewater systems to the Pennsylvania Suburban Company for $2.7 million.

Water service is provided by Aqua Pennsylvania.

1854 An act authorizing the Town Council of the Borough of White Haven to borrow money.  April 28, 1854.

1865 An act to incorporate the White Haven Water Company, and to authorize the burgess and town council of the borough of White Haven to sell and convey the water works of said borough to said company.  February 27, 1865.
That the said company shall not charge any private family more than ten dollars per annum for water, or the use thereof.

1871 A supplement to an act, entitled "An act to incorporate the White Haven Water Company, and to authorize the burgess and town council of the borough of White Haven to sell and convey the water works of said borough to said company," approved the twenty-seventh day of February, Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and sixty-five.  May 10, 1871.
That from and after the passage of this act each and every owners of owner of a house or houses in the borough of White Haven, houses liable for located on a street along which water pipes may be laid, an out of which a supply of water can be had by the owners thereof at their pleasure, shall be charged and held liable, and also all parties taking water from the reservoirs of said company shall be so held, whether the water is used by him or them or in their buildings or not, respectively, to the aforesaid water company, for the water rates.

1886 Trimmer et al. v. The White Haven Water Company and Myers, Collector, July 3, 1885, Luzerne Legal Register Reports, 4:293 (1888).

1891 "White Haven," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 3.

1893 History of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: With Biographical Selections, by Henry C. Bradsby
Page 662:  White Haven Water Works were commenced in 1856 under borough auspices, simply piping from the two springs in the North ward. These gave enough water until 1863, and then a company was organized and stock to the amount of $7,500 subscribed for the purpose of giving better facilities, the stock being increased to $19,000. Pipes were laid to the brook and for two years water was thus obtained. This was in addition to the two springs. Then a pipe line was run to Santee spring, nearly a mile in distance, and afterward terra-cotta pipes were extended 1,600 feet to a spring on Santee farm. All this piping practically failed and most of the water wasted through leaks, and the head was not high enough to supply houses on ground the least elevated. In 1875 the company built a reservoir further up the mountain and thus is enabled to keep any required amount in store and with a head that can throw water to the top of the tallest houses. To meet any emergency the company has a pump connecting the river with their works simply as an additional precaution to meet any possible case. Officers: President, C. L. Keck; treasurer and secretary, S. Maguire; superintendent, H. J. Myers, who has been in charge from the beginning.

1897 "White Haven," from Manual of American Water Works, Volume 4.

1900 The Plain Speaker (Hazleton, Pennsylvania), April 14, 1900, Page 4.
Scranton parties have secured control of the White Haven Water Co.  The deal was concluded this week.

1900 "To Restrain Water Co.," Wilkes-Barre Weekly Times, May 5, 1900, Page 5.
From raising rates more than $10 per year in White Haven.

1903 "Water Company May Raise Rates," Wilkes-Barre Record, December 19, 1903, Page 17.

1904 White Haven Borough et al. v. White Haven Water Co., 209 Pa. 166, May 9, 1904, Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.
Where a water company incorporated in 1865, purchases the waterworks of a borough, and a provision in its charter that it shall not charge more than $10.00 per annum to any private family is a part of the contract of purchase, the water company cannot in 1899 by accepting the provisions of the constitution of 1873 and the corporation act of April 29, 1874, relieve itself from the limitation on charges to private families.

1922 "Complaint Dismissed," Mount Carmel Item, January 20, 1922, Page 6.
The complainant had protested against the increase in rates since the borough sold the water works to the White Haven Water Company.

1951 "Borough Buys Water Plant," Pittston Gazette, June 25, 1951, Page 5.
White Haven Municipal Authority has completed the purchase of White Haven Water Company, which originally was established by the borough in 1856 and sold  to private interests in 1865 to enable the borough to pay troop counties levied against the borough by the Federal Government during the Civil War.
The authority recently floated a $105,000 bond issue to purchase the water company.  From this fund, the authority will pay $87,898 to stockholders of the water company for 1,204 shares of stock in the company.

2002 Philadelphia Suburban Subsidiaries Purchase White Haven Water and Wastewater Systems.  March 13, 2002.
Philadelphia Suburban's Consumers Pennsylvania Water Company (Consumers) and Suburban Wastewater Company (SWC) subsidiaries have purchased the water and wastewater system assets of the White Haven Municipal Authority, which collectively serve nearly 3,000 residents in Luzerne and Carbon counties, Pennsylvania, in a transaction valued at $2.7 million and the assumption of White Haven's existing, low-interest PennVest loans.
"We are fortunate to have experienced, professional companies like Consumers and SWC acquiring White Haven's water and wastewater systems," said White Haven Municipal Authority Chairman Don Smith. "We have had the opportunity to work with Consumers and Suburban Wastewater Company over the past several months and are certain of the quality service they will bring to our customers."
PSC Chairman Nicholas DeBenedictis said the acquisition expands the utilities' operations in northeastern Pennsylvania. "Including White Haven, nearly half of the growth ventures PSC has completed since November have been in this area of the state, which is experiencing rapid growth," said DeBenedictis. "With our Consumers subsidiary, we have a strong base of operations, which has been key to our ability to create a critical mass for our expanding operations in the Poconos region of northeastern Pennsylvania. The acquisition is also beneficial for the Poconos, which now supports both vacationing and year-round residents, in that our plans to increase wastewater capacity and expand the water system will create new opportunities for growth and tourism in the area."

2016 Morris A. Pierce