With Frankford approval, Artesian readies to provide water to town

FRANKFORD — With acquisition of the town of Frankford water system finalized, Artesian Water Company aims to provide high-quality service to the small town — and others in southern Sussex County.

Artesian, which recently announced its April 2 acquisition of the town’s water system, pledges to provide Frankford improved water quality, access to a 24/7 emergency dispatch center, excellent customer service with transparent bi-monthly bills and expert local staff ready to respond quickly.

After many decades of operating its own water plant and system, Frankford town council in early February agree to turn off the spigot and accept Artesian Water Company’s $3.6 million offer.

The vote of council’s five members was unanimous in support of the agreement, a deal council members viewed as a way to modernize and upgrade the town’s water system and also bank the town’s future with financial stability.

“We did get paid. Now, we’ve got to decide what we are going to do with that money,” said Frankford council president Joanne Bacon. “Because of the coronavirus, we’re not able to meet or anything else to discuss anything. At some point, that decision will be made. Hopefully, this coronavirus will be over soon, I hope.”

With a presence in Delaware for 115 years, Artesian has invested approximately $44 million over the past three years in water and wastewater infrastructure in Sussex County and will continue to make future investments.

This acquisition in Frankford is a culmination of Artesian’s strategic efforts to focus on Sussex County’s growth and highlights the success of Artesian’s public-private partnerships throughout the state of Delaware.

Under the Artesian agreement, the water rate for Frankford is scheduled to remain at $12.68 per 1,000 gallons for possibly a year. The town had raised it from $8.75 in July 2018, a 48-percent increase.

“That is the way I understand it to be, they are going to remain the same ($12.68) for a year, and then they would probably go down compared to what they are now,” said Ms. Bacon, who noted that the town sent out its last billing for the water service last week.

“I think it will be a good thing for the town of Frankford. The sale was a good thing, I think. It was really emotional for me. It was a huge decision for the council. I think we can move forward with this,” said Ms. Bacon. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done to the water plant itself. They (Artesian) have been a really good company to work with up through this whole transition period. We really appreciate that from them as well.”

Artesian’s focus on growth in Sussex County has centered on creating a larger regional water system, interconnecting existing systems to new service territories for additional reliability.

The town of Frankford is located near Artesian’s Greater Dagsboro Water Treatment Plant, currently under construction off Armory Road Dagsboro, which will provide an additional supply of two million gallons per day to the region.

Over seven miles of new water main and 45 fire hydrants will be constructed in this regional system, interconnecting the town of South Bethany to Frankford and Dagsboro, covering 20 square miles of service territory and serving nearly 6,000 customers.

“Artesian’s investments in Sussex County and securing this latest acquisition has positioned us to continue to expand our service territory, interconnecting this larger regional area with high quality and reliable water service,” said Dian C. Taylor, President and CEO.

The completion of this acquisition is Artesian’s fifth over the past three years, including the water systems of the Slaughter Beach Water Company, High Point, Cantwell, Odessa and Historic Fort DuPont.

With a Southern Office located in Milton, Artesian Water Company is a subsidiary of Artesian Resources Corporation.