Celebrating 4 Decades of Clean Water

Running water is something most Americans take for granted. As soon as we wake up, we’re taking showers, flushing the toilet and making coffee with it. Throughout the day we assume it’ll be there for our immediate use, and that it’ll be clean and fresh.

Shockingly, it wasn’t always like this. Water pollution became part of the norm decades ago, until a decision was reached to make a change that would benefit our country years to come. Today we celebrate the 42nd anniversary of the Clean Water Act (CWA), a law that laid the groundwork in protecting the integrity of water.

 In the mid 20th century, water pollution was at an all time high. Clean sources of water were becoming a rarity. The trash-filled waters would cause odors that would fill towns. Rivers would catch on fire because of their contamination. It became no secret that extreme measures had to be taken to secure healthy water sources for our future.

 

On October 18, 1972, the controversial CWA was passed. The mission of the act was clear and simple: To restore and maintain the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation's waters.

  • Forty-two years later, we can see the immense amount of progress made as a direct result of the CWA:
  • Point source pollution, i.e. pollution that can easily be traced back to its source, has decreased drastically.
  • The quality of our nation’s water has greatly improved, making clean water more accessible.
  • Wetlands and rivers have bounced back to health.

The law was a catalyst to the improvement of water that our country needed. Today, we urge you to celebrate the anniversary of the CWA by continuing the trend of protecting our nation’s water. To learn more about how the CWA affects you, check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s overview.

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Get To Know Aqua: Area Manager Melissa Kahoun

1. My name is…Melissa Kahoun         

2. When I was a kid, my nickname was…Shasha – this is how my youngest sister ended up pronouncing Melissa

3. My title is...Area Manager

4. That means I (do what?)…I have overall responsibility for the day-to-day operations of Aqua’s water and wastewater assets in the Kankakee and Will County Divisions. 

5. If I had to pick 3 words to describe myself, they’d be…Dedicated, Empathetic, Honest

6. Favorite weekend activity: Biking (mountain or road biking)

7. Since I started working at Aqua, the most fun I experienced was…Attending a Kankakee Community College sustainability expo.  Aqua had a source water protection booth setup and I was explaining why macro-invertebrates are so important to the river to a little girl and before she left with her dad, she ran up to me and gave me a great big hug – made my heart melt!

8. I love water, because…without it I would not exist!

9. The most interesting thing I’ve crossed off my “Bucket List” is…Running a half marathon – not because I completed one but because my doctor told me my body and running don’t agree with one another.  I came close though…. 

10. In the summer, you can find me...In the woods (camping, biking, hiking)

11. When I was a kid, I always thought I’d grow up to be...A veterinarian.  My dream job would be running an animal rescue facility.

12. Do you have any pets? I have a cat named Little Kitty 

13. If I could be one movie character, I would be...because...Laura Croft because in the movie Tomb Raider she was an extremely intelligent woman and tough as nails.  Two incredibly awesome traits.

14. Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve always had a celebrity crush on…Gerard Butler

15. If I weren’t working at Aqua, I would be…Probably married to Gerard Butler!

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The History of Water Infrastructure

It simmers and steams and doesn’t boil when watched.

It fills up bathtubs to the brim, sloshing back and forth.

It finds itself accompanying your nightly dinner in a glass filled with ice.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of water in our everyday lives; we need it and we thrive upon it. But it’s even easier to forget the leaps and bounds necessary to get it in your faucet today. It wasn’t always this simple. Here’s a brief timeline of how water become accessible to you:

 

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t that simple, but those are some pretty key events that built the water infrastructure needed for the way we use water today. Here’s some more information about those milestones.

Ancient Rome:

Rome wasn’t built in a day, which meant innovation for even the most basic of necessities could take a staggering amount of time. Technology seemed to move a little faster once the first aqueducts were built to transport water. This step in early innovation that culminated in Early Rome soon took off throughout Europe. It was the most advanced plumbing system of its day.

 

Enlightenment Era:

After a more advanced plumbing system was introduced during the Enlightenment Era, it became a priority to provide sanitary water to the increasing population. Shortly after, it was necessary to bring in private water companies to account for the overwhelming amount of people. Water filtration was in its early experimental stages and used sand filters to take care of sanitation.

1900’s:

However, in the early 1900’s, filters were no longer used after a faulty mishap, which caused a disease outbreak. Instead, chlorination became the new way to provide clean water. While the process has been tweaked throughout history, it remains to be the fundamental way we purify water as of today. 

Today:

Other techniques such as water fluoridation and desalination are also used in certain areas of the world to provide safer water. Laws surrounding water began to pick up speed as the need for regulation became imperative. In 1974, the Safe Drinking Water Act was passed, placing an emphasis on the quality of the water that is consumed, and it’s still enforced today.

It’s everyone’s responsibility to continue the trend to healthier and safer water. The Ancient Romans knew this and were able to overcome many logistical boundaries. But, there is still more to be done in both conservation and availability. The infrastructure of water is rapidly changing and progressing, which is integral when it comes to nurturing one of our most valuable natural resources.

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Thank You, Aqua Employees!

 

You turn on the faucet and water comes out. Sounds easy, right?

As easy as it seems, there is more that goes into getting that drinkable water from a fresh and natural source into your home - lots of pipes, water towers, reservoirs, and advanced water technology.

But it is more than technology and infrastructure; thousands of people across the country build their entire careers ensuring we all have water. These people, whether they are in the field, in the lab or behind the phones, spend their days making sure you can take a shower, cook your food, or spend time in the pool with your kids. A large labor force of talented men and women are working tirelessly, on weekends and late at night, to ensure that you have clean water for every day use.

With that in mind, the entire team at Aqua wants to send a deep thank you to all employees in our eight service states. Thank you for delivering unparalleled service even through long hours, plenty of service requests, and often-unpredictable weather conditions. Our company is strongly supported by a first-class family of staff that ensures Aqua customers can depend on quality when they turn the tap. As we celebrate Labor Day with a hot dog, family and friends; lets raise our glass (of water) and toast these unseen water bearers. Thank you for your service, labor, and loyalty.

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Get To Know Aqua: Executive Assistant Jennifer Knotts

Get to know Aqua and the employees that work day in and day out to provide quality customer service and reliable drinking water to approximately 3 million customers. In this week’s ‘Employee Highlight,’ we spoke to Executive Assistant, Jennifer Knotts. 

1. My name is… Jennifer Knotts. I am married to my husband, Shae, and I have two boys, Jared and Gavin. They are my whole world!

2. My title is... Executive Assistant 

3. That means I (do what?)… I do a little bit of everything, payables, payroll, planning events, doing administrative work for the office or Tom Bruns (Aqua Indiana President), handling customers, handling customer accounts for Western Hancock Utilities, Wymberly, Chimneywood and Heir Industries, serving as back up for Fran Paul when she is out of the office for Hendricks and Darlington, reviewing aging reports, doing certified letters for Shut Off Not for Nonpayments (SONP) and working with Field Services Representatives (FSR) out in the field. 

4. I work with water for a living, but my favorite water related activity is... Swimming. I really like going to water parks with my children.

5. If I had to pick 3 words to describe myself, they’d be… Kind, dedicated and organized.

6. Since I started working at Aqua, the most fun I experienced was… The 360 Team Building Dinner in Fort Wayne.  We had to work as a team and it was fun and enjoyable to see co-workers out of the office, laughing and having a great time!

7. The most interesting thing I’ve crossed off my “Bucket List” is… Getting a tattoo. Mine is a Dolphin.

8. My co-workers don’t know this, but I’m actually a big fan of... Disney, Eeyore and Little Mermaid are my favorite. Anytime I can go to Walt Disney World – I will. 

9. In the summer, you can find me... Outside hiking, coaching soccer or spending time with my family.

10. Favorite childhood toy was…. I did not really care for toys I enjoyed the big boxes my dad would bring home from work and we would build forts out of them.

11. When I was a kid, I always thought I’d grow up to be... FBI Agent

12. Do you have any pets? (Name, Age, Type) Yes, we have two Miniature Schnauzers. One boy 2 years old and one girl 4 years old. Dex and Dakota.

13. If I could be one movie character, I would be...because... A pirate from Pirates of the Caribbean. It just seemed like a great movie and so much fun!

14. My favorite “guilty pleasure” snack is… Chocolate and Peanut Butter (Twix, Reese’s, or Reese Sticks)

15. Don’t tell anybody, but I’ve always had a celebrity crush on… Johnny Depp

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