Two for-profit water companies with headquarters in the Philadelphia area announced a deal today to swap water and waste-water treatment operations to boost efficiencies for both companies.

Aqua America Inc. of Bryn Mawr said it agreed to purchase water and waste-water operations in Texas from American Water Works Co. of Voorhees for $6 million. The Texas operations serve about 16,000 customers.

American Water, meanwhile, agreed to purchase water and waste-water operations in Missouri from Aqua America for about $3 million.

Nicholas DeBenedictis, chief executive officer of Aqua America, said the deal allows his company to prune in areas where it doesn't have big operations and add in the growing Texas market. American Water said adding smaller water systems where it already has strong operations will enable it to leverage its expertise.

The exchange needs state regulatory approvals.       - Bob Fernandez