American Water Works Seeks Growth in Wastewater, CEO Says

American Water Works Co., the largest publicly traded U.S. water utility, is seeking to boost revenue by expanding its wastewater operations and pursuing additional military contracts.

The company provides wastewater services to about 4 percent of its customers, said Susan Story, halfway through her first full week as chief executive officer.

“We also have a focus, relatively new, on targeting wastewater,” Story said today in a telephone interview. “Of the 3.2 million metered customers we have, 3.1 million are water and only about 120,000 are wastewater. Most people just assume we have wastewater services where we serve water.”

Story was promoted to CEO from chief financial officer on May 9, replacing Jeff Sterba, who is retiring. The Voorhees, New Jersey-based company announced the transition plan in December.

American Water also is seeking to do more business with the U.S. military. It operates on 10 bases now and last year won contracts for $140 million of capital projects at the sites, “including a wastewater treatment plant that’s one of the largest projects we’ve done,” Story said.

The U.S. Defense Department has issued more than a dozen requests for proposals for about $2 billion in other water-related projects, and may issue about $11 billion worth by the end of the decade, Story said. “We have bid on a number of those, some of which we hope are awarded this year.”

American Water Works reported first-quarter revenue of $681.9 million on May 7, up 7.2 percent from a year earlier. Net income increased 18 percent to $68.1 million.

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