HARRISBURG (AP) — Pennsylvania’s Senate is backing legislation criticized by opponents as a vehicle for-profit water companies to take over municipal water authorities by imposing expensive regulations on them. Opponents also warned that the bill will precipitate ratepayer increases when water authorities must meet the new regulations or after they are forced to sell out to for-profit water companies. The bill passed today, 27-23, with the backing of Senate Republican leadership. Opposition crossed party lines. The sponsor, Sen. Pat Stefano of Fayette county, said the bill will create “uniform safety, security and quality standards for all water and wastewater suppliers.” The bill now goes to the House for consideration.