LIHUE — David Paul, vice president of engineering and construction at Aqua Engineers, said the new Aqua-Puhi Sewer & Water Utility has a large base.
“The Kukui Grove Center, Costco, the newly-opened Hokulei Village, Kauai Community College and Island Schools are among the people hooked into this facility,” he said.
A blessing and celebration of the utility took place Thursday at the facility adjacent to Puakea Golf Course and Pua Ko residential subdivision.
It is Aqua Engineers’ third utility acquisition
“This is our first Public Utilities Commission-regulated utility,” said Hugh Strom, Aqua Engineers senior vice president. “After working with Aqua Engineers for more than 20 years, one of the concerns our employees echoed was the anxiety over job security surrounding the five year operations and management contracts. That led to Aqua’s direction of exploring opportunities in utility acquisitions.”
In 2003, Aqua Engineers acquired the Schofield Barracks Wastewater Utility Privatization. Eights years later, Aqua Engineers acquired the Oahu Wide Sewer Systems. Thursday, Puhi Sewer & Water Utility joined the Aqua Engineers family of utilities. Aqua Engineers employs about 90 people on Kauai.
“This acquisition puts us in a unique position,” said Aqua Engineers CEO and President Ken Davis. “Aqua-Puhi Sewer & Water Utility is the only employee-owned company to have a water-regulated utility in the country.”
Strom said water from the utility is certified to be used for irrigation of the neighboring Puakea Golf Course.
“Working side by side with our employees in the field for many years, I had the opportunity to learn and understand what an important role we play in protecting the environment while providing quality services to the communities we live in,” Strom said. “This is something many still overlook.”
The Aqua Engineers acquisition was approved by the Public Utilities Commission, transferring ownership from the Grove Farm Company.
Aqua Engineers has provided the operational service for Puhi Sewer for nearly 20 years and has been responsible for maintaining reliable services to more than 1,300 residential, commercial and industrial customers in the Lihue-Puhi commity.
Under Grove Farm’s leadership, Puhi Sewer sought and received approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission to provide commercial customers with non-potable water to meet their landscaping or irrigation needs.