Under Pressure: What’s a Boil Advisory, Anyway?

Sometimes, due to adverse weather conditions, infrastructure updates or other changes to your water service, Aqua may issue a precautionary boil advisory. We do this to ensure that your family is safe and taking the proper precautions.

We understand that receiving a boil advisory might be confusing, though, which is why we’re here to answer your burning—or boiling—questions.

What is a precautionary boil advisory?

First of all, it’s important to note that different Aqua states use different terms for this type of notice. If you’re in North Carolina, for example, you probably know of boiling advisories as system pressure advisories.

Aqua will issue a precautionary boil advisory through our usual channels of communication:

In addition these notifications, advisory information is added to the Aqua website, and customers enrolled in WaterSmart Alerts, a system that automatically sends notifications about water quality and service issues to impacted Aqua customers, will be notified.

Why are these advisories issued?

According to Aqua North Carolina’s Regional Manager of Compliance/Engineering  Michael Melton, “An advisory is put out after [Aqua] has had to shut the system down for emergency repairs, such as a main break or a well pump replacement.”

“When the system is shut down, there is the potential of bacteria to enter the water,” he explains. “It is very unlikely that there will be an issue, but these advisories are put in place in abundance of caution.”

Essentially, if Aqua puts out a boil advisory or system pressure advisory, it is not a sure sign that your water been contaminated. Instead, it means that we’re playing it safe and would rather you and your family take precautionary measures to ensure the quality of your drinking water. It’s for your (and our) peace of mind.

What does the boiling process actually accomplish?

Okay, so you understand why you’ve received an advisory. But what does the simple process of boiling water actually accomplish?

Time for some…

via GIPHY

Between reactions, moving atoms and bouncing water molecules, plenty of scientific things are happening before your water even comes to a boil.

  • As water heats up, the vapor pressure increases to match the pressure of the gas around the liquid. This pressure is the key to the boiling process.
  • Gas starts to heat at the bottom of the water and rise to the top. (That’s why you see bubbles!)
  • As the liquid boils, the extreme heat eliminates harmful pathogens (bacteria, viruses or other microorganisms that can cause disease) from the water.

Other tips to keep in mind:

  • Because of the importance of the atmospheric pressure, boiling water at different altitudes is something to keep in mind. The USDA has more information on that subject here.
  • Before taking your water off the stove, make sure it reaches a rolling boil at 212° Fahrenheit for one to three minutes.
  • This goes without saying, but make sure you let your boiled water cool down before using it for any drinking, cooking or teeth cleaning.

How long should you continue boiling your water after receiving an advisory?

According to Melton, “Upon collecting the sample received by the laboratory and analysis received by Aqua, this process typically takes 24-36 hours.”

When the advisory is officially lifted, Aqua will get back in touch to let you know.

Often, hurricane season and precautionary boil advisories go hand-in-hand. To ensure you’re prepared for anything extreme weather might throw your way, make sure you check out our guide to hurricane preparedness.

If you have more questions, visit our website or call 877-987-2782 to talk to one of our customer service representatives.

 

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Just Add Water: Aqua’s Guide to Summer 2017

The sun is out and you’ve (hopefully) stopped sneezing from those pesky spring allergies—it must be summertime! With warm weather and longer days come plenty of opportunities for adventure and relaxation alike.

From water activities to plain-old silly fun, here’s everything we recommend for making Summer 2017 a season to remember.

Visit a Water Park

Image via Mariamichelle

Between splashing around in a wave pool or relaxing on a lazy river, there are activities for the whole family at a water park. You can even make an adventure out of it and take a road trip to some of the best water parks in America.

Or… Bring the Water Park to You

Image via Tama66

If you want to bring your fun in the sun a little closer to home, there are plenty of warm weather activities to do in your own backyard. Stay cool and have a blast by getting the kiddie pool ready, breaking out the old slip ‘n slide or indulging in our ideas for a little wacky water outdoor fun.

Watch a Summer Movie

Image via dbreen

Escape the heat in a cool, dark theater for a couple of hours or get the popcorn going and gather around on the couch for a movie. We’ve even got a list of classic H2O-related movies for the whole family to enjoy if the pool or beach is a little too far away.

Visit a Farmer’s Market

Image via Erik Scheel

Support your local farms this summer by getting out to a farmer’s market. Enjoy the fresh, delicious seasonal produce and maybe even pick up some fruit to create your favorite flavored water. If you need some help dipping your toes into upgrading your drinking water this summer, we’ve got you covered.

View Fireworks

Image via skeeze

Everyone knows to expect fireworks on the Fourth of July, but many towns host displays all summer long. Check your local event calendars for weekly or monthly fireworks, and let the spectacle continue beyond Independence Day.

Want to continue your seasonal celebration past the Fourth of July with some more unique celebrations? Here are some lesser-known holidays that are fun to observe.

National Hammock Day (July 22)

Pretend you’re on a tropical vacation by the ocean and get in on National Hammock Day! We recommend some shade and a good book for optimal relaxation.

National Watermelon Day (August 3)

Watermelon has “water” right in its name—how could it not be an Aqua-favorite fruit? On August 3, make a point to enjoy some watermelon, whether it’s sliced, diced or in your drinking water—we’ve even got a recipe right here.

National Tell a Joke Day (August 16)

Everyone enjoys a good joke—no matter how cheesy. On National Tell a Joke Day, make it your goal to give someone a serious case of the giggles. Here are a couple of our favorite jokes:

Is it dangerous to swim on a full stomach?

Yes. It’s better to swim in water.

 

What did the ocean say to the other ocean?

Nothing—it just waved.

No matter what you do to celebrate the season, it’s important to remember to stay hydrated. From splashing around at the waterpark to making refreshing beverages, water is truly the key to a fun and safe summer.

What’s your favorite way to use water to keep cool?

 

 

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How to Prepare for Hurricane Season Before Diving into Summer Fun

We know you’re excited for the summer season. You have everything prepared: extra sunscreen, beach towels, sunglasses and plenty of water.

What about hurricane season though?

The National Weather Service  classifies hurricane season as June 1 through November 30. Although extreme weather can be daunting, don’t panic: There are simple ways to be prepared for interruptions in water service.

If your local meteorologist warns of a looming hurricane, here’s what you need to know to make sure you and your family remain safe and secure.  

Make a Hurricane Kit

If your water and power go out, chances are you will need some supplies to keep you and your family as comfortable as possible. Make sure to keep up to 72 hours worth of supplies in a safe, dry place. This includes bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, candles and even some fun items like decks of cards or board games. Click here for a full list compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Save Water

Make sure to save water in advance of a hurricane. Pitchers, pots and bathtubs are good places to store extra water from your faucets in case water service is indeed interrupted.

How to Boil Water

Once water service is restored, Aqua will likely issue a precautionary boil advisory to ensure your water is purified and safe to use. Boiling your water before using it for drinking or cooking is a crucial step in ensuring the safety of you and your family.

Here’s a handy instructional guide:

If possible, infants and pregnant women should use bottled or stored water instead of boiled tap water for drinking and cooking during a boil advisory.

Stay Connected

Make sure to keep an eye on the following channels to ensure you receive any updates from Aqua about boil advisories or water services.

After the storm has passed, Aqua will collect water samples once service is restored and will run tests to ensure that no bacteriological contamination took place during repairs or periods of pressure loss. These laboratory tests might take a couple of days to complete.

With a stocked hurricane kit, extra water on hand and a pledge not to panic, you’re as prepared for hurricane season as one can be. Now it’s time to get back to the beach!

For additional information, reach out to our customer service representatives at 887-987-2782, or visit us at AquaAmerica.com to sign up to sign up for WaterSmart alerts.

 

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National Safety Month: Working Safely at Home and on the Job

 

By Aqua Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Rick Fox

Every day, Aqua provides the critical service of delivering Earth’s most essential resource to our customers and the communities we serve. In honor of National Safety Month, observed each June, Aqua is joining the National Safety Council to raise awareness of the risks associated with our work, and importance of working safely and reducing leading causes of injury and death at work, on the road and at home.

At Aqua, the safety of our employees is our number one priority. Each year, we conduct training and inspections, share monthly tips to foster awareness, perform worksite assessments and empower employees to stop work for safety concerns. Safeguards put in place by Aqua like fall restraints, hoists and automated systems not only make work easier, but also keep employees safe. Establishing and training employees on standard operating procedures helps protect them from risks.  

We expect all employees to work proactively to champion their own safety by avoiding shortcuts that put teammates at risk, wear appropriate personal protective equipment and fasten seatbelts every time they enter a vehicle.

The NSC has outlined four areas to focus on this National Safety Month, to prevent injuries and death on the job and at home. Aqua encourages customers and employees alike to practice these safety tips to avoid harmful accidents.

Falls:

Falls in the home are one of the leading causes of injury-related death in the U.S., and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls from elevation were a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 350 of the 937 construction fatalities in 2015. Simple tips, like eliminating tripping hazards and working carefully on ladders, can help prevent many falls at home and at work. Other ways to reduce fall hazards include:

  • Securing electrical and phone cords away from walking areas, such as hallways or in front of your desk.
  • Keeping drawers and cabinets closed when you’re not using them.
  • Cleaning up any spills immediately and placing warning signage on slippery surfaces, if necessary.
  • Avoiding carrying more than you can handle.

If working from a ladder:

  • Do not work on the top rung of the ladder.
  • Maintain three points of contact with the ladder at all times.
  • Do not carry any tools or materials in your hands when climbing a ladder. Tools should be carried in a belt.
  • Do not lean away from the ladder to perform work. Always keep weight centered between the side rails.

Fatigue:

The CDC reports that 1 in 3 adults do not get enough sleep and it is estimated that 37 percent of the U.S. workforce is sleep-deprived. To be alert and well-rested:

  • Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends.
  • Eliminate unnecessary light and keep your bedroom temperate.
  • Avoid eating and using electronic devices right before bed, which can inhibit sleep.

Active Shooters:

Thinking about being involved in a situation with an active shooter is chilling, but being prepared can be your best defense. Whether you are at work or out in public, remain as calm as possible and remember:

  • Identify the two nearest exits.
  • If you can escape, do so immediately—leave personal belongings behind. If you cannot escape, hide in an area where the shooter can’t see you.
  • If you are behind a door, try to lock or block entry to it.
  • Silence electronic devices.
  • Call 911 as soon as you can do so safely.

Ergonomics:

Approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Most of this pain is not caused by serious underlying conditions, but improper ergonomic support.

  • When working at the computer:
    • Ensure your chair provides proper support and sit as far back as possible in it.
    • Make sure your monitor is directly in front of you and within reach of your fingertips.
    • Keep your eyes level with the toolbar when looking at your monitor.
    • Keep your elbows and knees bent at 90 degrees.
    • Take regular breaks to stretch and walk around.
    • Use caution when performing even mildly exertive lifting. Keep your back as straight as possible by bending and using your legs for your lifting power.
    • Always be sure to follow proper lifting techniques.
    • Refrain from reaching for heavy objects. Instead, use a step stool to retrieve items.

The good news is that most workplace and home accidents are preventable. The more Aqua employees and our customers understand potential hazards and take action to reduce them, the less likely accidents are to occur. Aqua cares about the safety and wellbeing of our employees and customers, so join us in recognizing Nationals Safety Month and to take simple steps to stay safe.

 

 

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Stop and Smell the Flowers: It’s World Environment Day

If you’re anything like those of us on the Aqua team, Earth’s beauty blows you away every single day of the week.

Today, though, we have a good reason to take our celebration of our planet to another level: It’s World Environment Day.

First observed in 1972, World Environment Day both acknowledges the complex beauty of our home planet and brings awareness to the many factors that endanger the precious ecosystems and habitats that surround us.  

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is Connecting People to Nature, which was chosen by Canada, this year’s host country.

985 events are on the #WorldEnvironmentDay map!
Tell us how you'll connect #WithNature & let's get to 1,000: https://t.co/gTGjbXCfwS pic.twitter.com/WRAJ05gWki

— UN Environment (@UNEP) May 31, 2017

Take a moment to think about how you connect to nature on a daily basis. In a single day, you might mow the lawn, listen to birds sing and snap a photo of a beautiful bundle of flowers to post online. Take it one step further, though, and think about what concrete actions could be done to preserve that grass, those birds or those flowers.

At Aqua, we’re determined to protect and provide water—Earth’s most precious resource—in an environmentally responsible, sustainable way. In addition to our daily operations providing water to our customers, we’re lucky that our employees are individually enthusiastic about being positive stewards of the environment.

In Pennsylvania, members of Aqua’s leadership team such as Chief Environmental Officer Chris Crockett, Director of Environment Compliance Deborah Watkins and Watershed Specialist Robert Kahley came together last October to plant native trees at the Perkiomen Creek Watershed, which is adjacent to Aqua’s Green Lane reservoir.

The group of volunteers planted more than 620 trees in one day that now consistently release fresh oxygen into the air, ultimately working toward a cleaner, healthier ecosystem across the neighboring community and the world.

Likewise, Aqua employees know the importance of all aspects of our environment—not just water. Our own Kevin M. Culver wrote an ode to bugs (yes, bugs!) in and around the Kankakee River in Illinois.

Why, Kevin asked our blog readers, should they care about bugs? Here’s his answer:

I care about the bugs because one can determine the health of a stream by the number and type of bugs living in the stream. Not only can the bugs be used to determine water quality, but fish and fresh water mussels can also be used as biological indicators of water quality.

There you have it: A healthy bug is a sign of healthy water. Who wouldn’t care about that?

Clearly, the environment is a crucial matter to Aqua employees, both personally and professionally, and we couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.

We encourage you to get involved during World Environment Day! Take the time to go outside, smell the fresh air and think about how lucky we are to be inhabitants of our beautiful planet. You can also take part in celebrating the day by sharing photos of the Earth’s beauty with the hashtag #WithNature on your favorite social media channels.

 

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