Who Owns the American Water Company?

American Water (NYSE: AWK) is the largest regulated water and wastewater utility company in the United States. With a history dating back to 1886, We Keep Life Flowing® by providing safe, clean, reliable and affordable drinking water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people with regulated operations in 14 states and on 18 military installations. American Water’s 6,500 talented professionals leverage their significant expertise and the company’s national size and scale to achieve excellent outcomes for the benefit of customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders.

American Water delivers more than one billion gallons of water daily and serves a broad national footprint and maintains a strong local presence. Its size and scale greatly differentiates American Water from its competitors offering water and wastewater solutions to communities. The company’s Military Services Group manages 50-year contracts with the Department of Defense to operate and maintain the water and wastewater systems on military bases. American Water currently owns, operates, and maintains water and wastewater assets at 18 military installations across the United States.

Who Owns the American Water Company?

About American Water

Founded in 1886, American Water Works Company, Inc., which we refer to, together with its subsidiaries, as American Water, is the largest publicly owned United States water and wastewater utility company, as measured both by operating revenue and population served. Our 6,500 employees provide approximately 14 million people with drinking water and wastewater services in 14 states and 18 military installations. The American Water team works tirelessly to help provide seamless service for the millions of American Water customers.

Our primary business involves the ownership of regulated water and wastewater utilities that provide water and wastewater services to residential, commercial, and industrial customers, treating and delivering over one billion gallons of water per day. Our subsidiaries that provide these services are generally subject to regulation by state Public Utility Commissions, which we refer to as state PUCs, in the states where they operate.

American Water was founded in 1886 as the American Water Works & Guarantee Company and reorganized in 1947 as American Water Works Company, Inc.

American Water is located at:
1 Water Street
Camden, NJ 08102

As of the first quarter of 2023, American Water’s 6,500 talented professionals leverage their significant expertise and the company’s national size and scale to achieve excellent outcomes for the benefit of customers, employees, investors and other stakeholders.


There are approximately 53,000 water systems across the U.S., that service as few as a dozen people to as many as eight million. Many of these systems are within 5 miles of each other and serve populations less than 10,000. In rural areas, millions of residents depend on private wells dug in their own properties for fresh water and use septic systems to dispose of wastewater. Municipally owned systems are responsible for the water services for about 85% of the population, with private companies serving most of the remainder. Privately owned companies range from small businesses to large publicly owned corporations. In some areas, Public-Private partnerships have been formed between private-sector companies and municipalities to address water treatment, delivery, and wastewater service.

The latest information on the AWK Stock can be located via the New York Stock Exchange or at

M. Susan Hardwick serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of American Water.

Cheryl Norton serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at American Water.

About Water

This varies by system, but approximately 65% comes from surface supplies such as lakes, creeks and rivers and approximately 35% comes from wells.

After water is drawn from the source (underground, aquifers, rivers, reservoirs, lakes, oceans) it is sent to a treatment facility where modern treatment systems use a combination of chemicals and filtration to assure water quality before it enters the distribution pipes. Treatment facilities are designed by engineers to meet the specific consumption and quality needs of the communities they serve. As those needs increase, additional resources and investments must be provided so that the facilities can remain in compliance with established standards. Water quality standards are set by the USEPA and many states.

Water travels through three main channels: the pumping station, the treatment facility and the distribution system. It then makes its way through the network of pipes to homes and businesses.

Pumping Station
The pumping facility extracts raw (untreated) water from the source, such as an aquifer or river, using large pumps, pipes, and a power source to drive the pumps.

Treatment Facility
After raw water is pumped from its source, it is sent to a treatment facility, usually located above ground. This is where water is treated to meet or surpass the levels of purity and quality set forth by the U.S. EPA or state and local authorities.

Distribution System
Once the water has been treated, it is ready to enter the distribution system. The distribution system is a network of pipes that span fields, mountains, and highways so that it can reach homes, businesses, fire hydrants, and a multitude of other destinations. The U.S. water pipe network stretches across 700,000 miles and is more than three times the length of the National Highway System. American Water maintains 53,500 miles of transmission, distribution and collection mains and pipes.

The Safe Drinking Act passed by Congress in 1974 authorized the U.S. EPA to set standards for the water delivered by every community water system in the United States serving more than 25 people. The U.S. EPA establishes national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally occurring and manufactured contaminants that may be found in water supply sources. American Water and its state subsidiary utilities perform a multitude of tests each day to help ensure that our customers receive high-quality drinking water. If an unforeseen event, such as a natural disaster, poses a risk to drinking water, American Water and its state subsidiaries work closely with local authorities and regulators to monitor water quality and keep the general public informed if any water quality issues develop.>

There is no evidence to show that bottled water is better than tap water. All tap water is required to meet strict standards set by the U.S. EPA under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The water provided by community water systems is regularly tested for compliance with state and federal regulations, whereas bottled water suppliers do not have such stringent regulatory requirements. Additionally, bottled water costs between $0.89 a gallon to $8.26 a gallon, compared to tap water, which only costs pennies a gallon.

Public-sector water utilities generally set their own rates and do not have to go through a state Public Utility Commission (PUC) approval process. Private-sector companies like American Water, need to apply with the PUC of the state in which they operate when seeking to raise rates. In exchange for providing water services, private-sector companies earn a reasonable return on prudently invested capital. A company is not guaranteed a specific return. Whether it earns the allowed return depends on how efficiently the company is run. When determining whether to allow a rate increase, regulators look at whether the capital invested to build and maintain the system is reasonable and whether the company is operating in a prudent fashion. Final rates are set and approved by the PUCs.

A “Due Process” system has been developed that gives the utility the right to present its water rate case to the local PUC in the state in which it operates. This process also gives the customer and regulator the right to challenge those requests. A schedule of public hearings is created that allows the public to participate in the process. The utility is required to support its request by rigorously applying standards of evidence. During the hearing process, the utility is subject to cross-examination, and evidence presented in the proceeding can be challenged on a number of grounds.
The water rate case process involves the following players:

  • The utility
  • Representatives of the public, including local government representatives, public interest groups and other non-government organizations and individuals
  • The state PUC

Requests for rate increases generally undergo an extremely thorough examination involving all of these entities.

As with other regulated industries, the PUC or similar agency in each state reviews the water rate structure, services, investments, and corporate governance before approving rate increases. Water utilities provide detailed information to the PUC, so there is a clear understanding of the cost of the service provided and of the investments needed to provide water services. The PUC allows and approves rate increases only if the company can demonstrate that the capital invested was necessary and that the company is operating in an efficient manner.

The cost of delivering clean, safe, reliable water depends on several general and local factors, such as: the expense of operating and maintaining the water system; the cost of the electricity used to pump the water from its source to homes and businesses; and the compensation of technicians, meter-readers, administrative personnel and others who help run the water utility. Depending on where one lives, these costs can vary from region to region. For example, communities often have water sources of differing qualities. Those who depend on water with more saline properties often have to spend more to have their water treated than those with access to other water sources. Likewise, communities in locations far removed from water sources may pay additional costs to have pipes extended out to their area.

When you pay for water, you are mainly paying for a service. This means labor, infrastructure, capital investments, compliance laws, and other operating costs. Rate increases are based on how much it costs a water service provider to supply water in any given area. One driver of increasing rates is capital investment, or the money water providers need to invest to repair, maintain and upgrade the water supply infrastructure. Analysis estimates that repairs to the infrastructure range from $276 billion to $1 trillion over the next 20 years. It is, therefore, likely that rates will rise for all communities across the country in the next few years due to an aging infrastructure. In some areas, water scarcity raises rates as well. When clean water sources have been exhausted, communities must find alternative ocean water or drilling to deep groundwater, all of which require additional capital investments to be made.

Public Water utilities are responsible for supplying water services for about 85% of the population, with private companies serving most of the remainder. Privately owned companies range from small business enterprises to large corporations with publicly traded stock. In some areas, Public-Private partnerships have been formed between private-sector companies and municipalities to handle water treatment, delivery and wastewater services.

The general services segment includes the building and operating of water and wastewater utility systems, system repair services, lab services, and sale of water infrastructure and distribution products.

American Water participates in both the water utility and general services segments of the business.

Municipal systems are owned and operated by the cities or towns they service and are under the management of the mayor or other elected officials. Privately owned systems range from small corporate associations that provide service to a dozen families to large corporations that own several water service companies, providing service to millions. Whether public or private, all water utilities must abide by strict water quality standards established by the U.S. EPA as well as state and local authorities. Private company rates are generally reviewed and approved by state Public Utilities Commissions.

The cost of water itself is minimal, approximately two cents per gallon, but there are many expenses associated with the planning, design, construction, operations, and maintenance of a water system, as well as the actual treatment process. These include the facilities used to extract, treat, and supply the water; investments made to upgrade and maintain these facilities; the materials used in treating the water; updating water testing and treating methods in order to meet regularly with compliance laws; and the labor required to manage the water system. Among the main costs: the electricity used to pump the water from its source and across terrain, and the purchase and operation of pipes.

The primary goal of every water utility is to provide high-quality drinking water in a reliable manner. Aging pipes can impede that service. The vast majority of the nation’s pipes were installed in three periods; in the late 1800s, the 1920s, and just after World War II. Depending on the pipe's material, age is not necessarily an indicator of condition or ability to satisfy service needs. For example, cast iron pipe installed in the late 1800s and early 1900s has been found to be in good condition more than 100 years after being installed. However, there are circumstances in which older pipes lead to leaks and create two subsequent issues: 1) they allow contaminants to enter the pipe, jeopardizing the water quality, and 2). they allow treated, clean water to seep, and sometimes steadily flow, out of the system and be wasted. In extreme cases, eroding pipes cause the ground above them to collapse, creating sinkholes. Pipes that leak must ultimately be attended to, requiring them to be unearthed and repaired. Infrastructure in the water industry refers to the pumping stations that draw the water from the source, treatment facilities that treat the water so that it meets the standards of the U.S EPA and state/local authorities, and distribution systems that include the vast network of pipes that deliver the water to our taps. While all three of these elements must be well maintained in order to supply clean, high-quality water, the distribution system is generally thought to need the most attention and investment.

The right to use water from lakes, rivers or groundwater sources is granted by the Federal government and State agencies. Water utilities do not own the water. Their role is to collect, treat and distribute clean and safe water in a reliable manner. In most states, water is held in public trust and local water utilities are allowed to remove the water from a source (river, ground, lake) with permission from a governing body. For providing this service, water utilities generally charge approximately two cents per gallon of water.

Water is treated to meet or surpass the levels of purity and quality set by the U.S EPA and state /local authorities. Increasingly stringent U.S. EPA regulations require treatment processes to be continually updated and tested, advancing the levels of technology, skill and chemical solutions. Nearly all public water supplies in the United States meet U.S. EPA standards for safe drinking water. Standards limit the concentrations, or amounts, of contaminants. In some cases where a contaminant cannot be measured, water supplies must provide specific treatment, such as disinfection and filtration.

With 85% of the nation’s water serviced by the public sector, the burden to finance the upgrades rests mainly on municipalities, local communities, and ultimately, state and local governments. To assist, the federal government has set up funds to help finance the upgrades, such as the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which was established in 1987. The fund enables state and local governments to get low-interest loans in order to fix aging wastewater treatment facilities and sewer pipes. States are required to match funds they use by at least 20%. Additional measures have been proposed, such as The Water Quality Financing Act of 2007 (H.R. 720), which would commit $14 billion to communities to fix their antiquated infrastructure. Finally, cities also have the option to apply for municipal bonds in order to finance their system improvement work. Other solutions point to private-sector funding, by which private-sector companies, such as American Water, invest the money needed for water and wastewater infrastructure improvements. Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) have also been used in many communities, and through them, private-sector companies assist in the design, rebuilding, and operation of publicly owned water and wastewater systems. PPP offers one of the most viable ways for communities to access the capital and industry expertise of the private sector. It is believed that such partnerships will play an increasing role in helping the U.S. overcome its water infrastructure challenges.

For the water that reaches your home, the charges that you receive reflect the services provided in order to transport, treat, and distribute water from a source to your tap. In order to provide you with high-quality water, the infrastructure and facilities used to supply the water must be maintained so that the water is kept safe and clean. As such, the pipes and facilities need to be regularly upgraded to help ensure safety and meet compliance levels. All are reflected in the water bill.

In some areas around the country, freshwater sources are in short supply. To supply these areas with water, a variety of solutions have been implemented. One such solution involves desalination—removing the salt content from the water to create fresh water. Another solution is to supply arid communities with water sources from neighboring communities through the construction of underground piping. Engineers are continually looking for ways to make water available to communities across the county in the most efficient and reliable manner possible.

Due to drier and warmer-than-average weather conditions and long-term issues with water sources, many municipalities and states experience shortages. When water conservation is mandated, local governments provide specific guidance on regulations. Visit our Wise Water Use section for ways to use water wisely.

There are many ways to conserve water. Fixing leaking faucets and toilets is an excellent way to start. If your faucet is dripping at the rate of one drop per second, you can expect to waste 2,700 gallons per year, which will add to the cost of your water bill. You can also take care to run your dishwasher and washing machine only when they are full. For a list of water-saving tips for around the home, please visit our Wise Water Use section.

Biosolids are a residual product of the wastewater treatment process. Biosolids can be used in regulated applications ranging from soil conditioning to fertilizer for food or non-food agriculture, to distribution for unlimited use, and are a good source of plant nutrients. Biosolids also contain valuable organic matter that improves the health, quality and structure of the soil.

Biosolids application on farmland has been a regular part of many agricultural communities for over 30 years in North America. In the past few years, more programs have sprung up to take advantage of the cost savings to both communities and farmers.

A normal application to a field might only be once every five years. However, the final determination is usually made by a detailed soil analysis before and after application. Detailed records are maintained of what specific combination was used on a specific field, and soil samples are also taken over several years to determine if an additional application is appropriate or even needed.

Customer Service

The application of fluoride in water is determined by local law. American Water and our subsidiaries do not put fluoride in water unless mandated by local law.

A customer service representative can tell you where the meter is located based on system information. Generally, the shut-off valves are located in your basement, or ground level, right where the main pipe comes into your home. However, many homes differ, so please get in touch with your customer service representative in order to find your shutoff valve location.

There are multiple methods by which you can take care of your monthly bill:

Pay On American Water Website (Preferred)
You can make a one-time payment or sign up for Auto Pay on MyWater at With Auto Pay, your bill will be paid on time, every time, on the date it is due. You can choose to have your monthly bill automatically applied to your credit card or deducted directly from your checking or savings account. No stamps are required. You'll still receive a copy of your bill well before the due date, so you will have time to ask any questions before payment. Visit your state's website's Billing & Payment Info page for more details.

Pay by Mail
To obtain your state-specific mailing address to send payment, visit your state's site under Billing & Payment in the Customer Service drop-down menu.

Pay In Person
This information can also be found on the individual state site under Billing & Payment in the Customer Service drop-down menu.

Pay by Phone
If you do not have questions about your bill, you can pay by phone using your Visa or MasterCard by calling 1-855-748-6066. A fee may be charged. Be sure to have your account number handy. This is located in the upper right corner of your current bill.

866-269-2837. American Water Customer Service Center receives emergency calls 24/7. For non-emergency calls, the Customer Service Center is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Make sure that the pipe coming into your home is not exposed to the elements. Most pipes are located underground. Once in your home, be sure the pipes are protected from any extreme temperatures at the point of entry. You can place insulation around or between where the pipe enters your home and the outside surface. Here is a fact sheet to help guide you.

Human Resources

Diversity of ideas, thoughts and experiences is vital to our culture and the way we do business. Creating an environment where differences are embraced and where every employee feels engaged and included makes us safer, stronger and more successful.

We encourage, honor and celebrate differences in our employees, including race, gender, spiritual practice, ethnicity, age, nationality, military/veteran status, sexual orientation, physical capabilities, education and personal style to name just a few. Diverse employees make us more successful in serving our very diverse customers across the country.

We want to foster an environment where our people can work safely, generate great ideas, provide the best customer service, and make a difference in the communities we serve. By cultivating a diverse and inclusive work environment guided by our core values, we enable any one or group of us to develop the next big idea, delight our customers, grow our company and create a future of success.

In early 2023, American Water redesigned the Chief Inclusion Officer role to build on our progress in establishing a culture focused on Inclusion Diversity & Equity (ID&E). Our Chief Inclusion Officer, who now has a dual reporting line to our CEO and CHRO, oversees our ID&E department and is responsible for developing and managing the implementation of our ID&E strategic plan.

The American Water Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Council functions as a recommending body and liaison to all functions of the business toward diversity, equity and inclusion. The Council will support, advise, empower and advocate efforts that will strengthen American Water’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Every American Water employee is respected for who they are as an individual and for our collective differences as a team. Members of the Council are volunteers who share expert knowledge and/or passion for diversity initiatives and opportunities for inclusion throughout our workforce. This charter sets forth the authority, membership, and responsibilities for governance of this Advisory Council.

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At American Water, we provide vital water and wastewater services to more than 14 million people every day, services that are critical to daily life. We work safely and ethically. We take great pride in what we do and work hard to provide clean, safe, reliable and affordable water to our customers and the communities we serve.

We believe the only way to do business is responsibly: delivering value to our customers, building strong communities, leveraging innovation to develop our industry, and supporting the expertise and dedication of our people. Being a part of our American Water community means embracing our core values and consistently demonstrating these values both at work and at home:

American Water Values:

  • Safety
  • Trust
  • Teamwork
  • Environmental Leadership
  • High Performance

American Water offers a full spectrum of programs and services for employees including benefits, health and wellness programs, compensation, values and culture, and training and professional development. Together, these are called myValue Plan.

You work hard for us; the benefits package is one important way we show you just how much we appreciate you and your continued loyalty to the Company. We have designed options for you to select a customized benefits program that will work for you and your family.

At American Water, you can be a part of a dynamic group of diverse individuals committed to supporting quality of life and preserving our local environments. Join our 6,500 proud employees who, on a daily basis, make a significant contribution to the day-to-day lives of millions.

Our culture is built on a foundation of innovation, inclusion, diversity, and community involvement. Our people thrive because they understand the importance of their work, and the impact they have on everyday life for millions of people. Opportunities exist in areas such as Research and Development, Business Development, Finance, Customer Service, Information Technology, Engineering, Production, Distribution, Operations, and more.