Celebrating 130 Years

This month, Aqua proudly celebrates our 130th anniversary.

It was in January 1886 that a group of professors from Swarthmore College first incorporated the Springfield Water Company—which would eventually grow into Aqua America—to serve residents of Springfield Township, Delaware County in Pennsylvania. Over the years, Aqua became one of the largest U.S.-based water and wastewater utilities in the nation, and today we provide essential water and wastewater services to more than 3 million people in eight states.

Although much has changed in the past 130 years, two things have not: the importance of water in sustaining life and Aqua’s role as its steward. As a part of Aqua’s anniversary celebration, we are excited to unveil an updated company mission to reflect that commitment:

 

Protecting and providing Earth’s most essential resource.

It’s our hope that this new, succinct and impactful mission statement will serve as a source of pride and encouragement to our employees, and that it will resonate with our customers, who can be reminded of how seriously we take our role in the lifecycle of our world’s precious water supply.

To reach 130 years is a remarkable milestone for any company. As we reflect on Aqua’s great history and growth story, it’s clear that our success is a reflection of our strong foundation as a company committed to operating with integrity and transparency. It’s also clear that we wouldn’t be where we are today without:

 

·      Our employees, both past and present, whose hard work and dedication to their jobs has fueled our company for generations; and

 

·      Our customers, who motivate us to continue finding better ways to deliver safe, affordable water and wastewater services, while investing in infrastructure to ensure the long-term reliability of our products.

So today, we thank both our employees and our customers for their partnership, and for helping us to reach this exciting anniversary. Here’s to another 130 years of protecting and providing Earth’s most essential resource, together. 

 

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Get to Know Aqua: Operations Support Coordinator Nancy McGee

As we celebrate our 130th Anniversary this year, we celebrate all of our dedicated employees that have made Aqua a great place to work. Operations Support Coordinator Nancy McGee will end her 43-year career with Aqua when she retires at the end of this month. Get to know one of Aqua's longest employees as she shares some of her final thoughts on her career and prepares for the next chapter in her life. Congrats and good luck, Nancy! 

 How long have you worked at Aqua?

43 years. I began my career in 1973 at Garden State Water Company

What was your first job?

Customer service representative

What positions have you held?

Currently I work as the operations support coordinator in New Jersey. Before that, I was a customer service manager for New Jersey and for New Hampshire, when we serviced that area. I was also a billing supervisor in our Bryn Mawr, PA offices.

Which was your favorite and why?

Although my titles have changed, my responsibilities have been about the same throughout. I enjoy that there is always something different every day. There is nothing negative about my job. Some people think that “customer service” is the call center, but the truth is that we’re all in customer service. We are all here to provide a service.

What led to your longevity at Aqua?

Focus. You have to be focused on what you’re doing. I like the challenges that come with the job. My job is not boring. I also like the fact that there’s never a line at the ladies’ room.

What are the most dramatic changes you’ve seen at the company during your 43 years here?

Technology has come a long way. Back in the day, employees relied heavily on direct phone contact to coordinate service between the field and the office. Today, we use digital information to update and document projects.

Have there been any changes in customer interaction or customer queries during your tenure?

Not really. The questions have not really changed because we’re providing the same service today as we did decades ago.

What did you most look forward to coming to work at Aqua?

The variety of challenges that I faced every day and being able to look forward to something different.

What are you looking forward to most about retiring?

I have yet to find out, but I’ll let you know!

Is there anything else you would like to share with Aqua employees before you retire?

Enjoy life.

 

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Aqua America's 130th Anniversary!

In celebration of our 130th Anniversary, we ‘d like to share some of our archived photos of the company from over the years. Check them out below! 

 

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Aqua Illinois Appoints Colton Janes as Director of Operations

Aqua Illinois President Craig Blanchette has announced the appointment of Colton Janes as the state director of operations. In his new role, Janes will oversee operations for all three service regions in Illinois and support plans for continued growth within the state.

Janes previously served as the central area manager for Aqua North Carolina, where he managed nearly 400 water and wastewater systems across 10 counties.

“Colton knows water and wastewater systems from design through operation,” said Blanchette. “Just as important, he understands that our customers are at the center of everything we do, and he doesn’t stop working until they’re satisfied. That’s the high standard of service Colton delivered for Aqua in North Carolina, and that’s the service he’ll provide to families right here in Illinois.”

After receiving his Bachelor of Science in environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, Janes designed water and wastewater systems for an engineering firm in Raleigh, North Carolina. He later operated water and wastewater systems on the North Carolina coast. His career progressed to municipal operations, where he oversaw capital improvement programs and managed new construction. Janes grew up on a farm in Stillman Valley, Ogle County, Illinois, where his family owned a water and wastewater contract operating company. Janes became involved in the industry at an early age when he visited plants with his father, a now-retired wastewater system operator. 

“I’m proud to come home to Illinois and remain part of the Aqua family,” said Janes. “Our skilled and experienced team works hard to deliver quality water and dependable service every day, and we’re committed to maintaining and improving our water and wastewater systems so we can serve generations to come.”

Janes is a licensed professional engineer and is certified in Illinois as a class 2 wastewater operator and a class B well and surface water operator. Janes and his wife, Jecca, live in Bourbonnais.

Aqua Illinois provides water and wastewater service to more than 63,000 homes and businesses in Boone, Champaign, Cook, Dekalb, Kane, Kankakee, Knox, Lake, Ogle, Vermilion, Will and Winnebago counties. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

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Top 5 Water Stories in 2015

2015 was a huge year for water. From water in space to water in California (or lack thereof), we’ve been reading about the never-ending dominance of all things water this year. And we’re psyched about it!

Check out some of these fascinating water stories from 2015!

 

 

Owens River Restoration Project a Big Success

What was once a parched river in California’s Owen Valley is now an abundant water source filled with mud hens, herons, bass, carp, catfish, and even river otters. One of the largest river-restoration projects in the country has allowed a small current to meander through what was largely a sandy, rocky bed more often used as a horse trail. It appears that, after a lot of hard work, life is returning to one of California’s most treasured rivers.

 

 

Move Over, Big Oil, We’re About to Mine Water

Underneath roughly 34,000 acres in the Mojave Desert are billions of gallons of fresh water just waiting to be mined. Scott Slater and his company, Cadiz, are hoping to be among the first to make water the hot commodity of the 21st century. Although there’s been trouble finding funding, the promise of investment is sure to be fruitful in the future.

 

 

Man and Water Post Katrina

Since Katrina, New Orleans has steadily returned to its old ways, water being front and center. Photographer Frank Relle has taken stunning photos of how people and water coexist in a region that has dealt with catastrophic disasters like Katrina, Rita, and the BP oil spill. This nighttime tour of weathered homes surrounded by water shows just how much of a force water is, and how, most importantly, it continues to be a source of life and hope.

 

 

‘Water Lady’ Brings Water to Parched Navajo Lands

They call her the “water lady,” but she’s so much more than that to the Navajo nation. She listens to her 221 clients’ desires and afflictions, and does whatever she can to help resolve them. For six years, Darlene Arviso has been delivering water to the Navajo nation, where conservation is not just a choice or a mandate, but a way of life.

 

 

There’s Liquid Water on Mars

We’ve known this (or theorized it) for a very long time now. We knew that Mars had polar ice caps, but this year, thanks to some innovative images, we have discovered that Mars indeed has flowing water. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted hydrated salt minerals in hillside marks that lengthen and shrink as the Martian seasons change. This discovery puts us one step closer to figuring out if there is, in fact, life on Mars. Without a doubt this is the best water news story of the year!

 

Do you have any cool water stories from 2015? Share them with us!

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