Say Goodbye to Grease!

 

We have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season and clean plumbing is near the top of that list. However, with tons of family members coming over for Thanksgiving it’s easy to let things fall through the cracks, and pipes.

 

Avoiding costly clogs may seem impossible. Fat, oil and grease solidify in household drains and, overtime, can completely block pipes. Items such as sauces, meats, dairy, cooking oil, butter, food scraps, and lard contribute to nasty congestion. But don’t worry, follow our tips and you can be living a perfect plumbing life.

 

First, you should know the risks. Blocked pipes can:

 
  • Back up raw sewage, which can cause serious health hazards.

  • Be expensive and unpleasant to clean up.

  • Create an overflow of raw sewage into parks, yards and streets.

  • Pollute groundwater.

  • Increase costs for local wastewater utilities, causing higher sewer bills.

 

Many people aren’t aware that their everyday habits can be detrimental to their plumbing. Are you a mindful homeowner? Find out below.

 

Myth:

Pouring grease down sink drains or into toilets is OK.

Fact:

Pouring grease anywhere other than metal cans to be placed into the trash is a major problem.

 

Myth:

Garbage disposals keep grease out of the plumbing system.

Fact:

Garbage disposals are handy for other purposes but will not prevent grease from backing up your pipes.

 

Myth:

Baby wipes are as flushable as toilet paper and will not cause any damage.

Fact:

Just because baby wipes, and other flushable wipes, go down the toilet does not mean they should. They’re actually doing more harm than good. Just throw them away!

 

How’d you do? If you still need some help protecting your pipes, consider installing grease traps. For one to work correctly it must be:

 
  • Designed, sized and manufactured to handle the amount of grease that is expected.

  • Installed properly, level and vented.

  • Cleaned, maintained and serviced frequently.

 

Solids should also never be put into grease traps. Additionally, you should not rely solely on your grease trap. Lend a hand by putting strainers over sink drains to catch food scraps and other solids, and by scraping food scraps and grease into a trash can.

 

Lastly, these issues aren’t just found at home. Business owners should follow these tips as well to keep their company running smoothly. Aqua actually helps businesses by visiting kitchens and food services to ensure compliance with state regulations. This is done through regular inspections of wastewater systems.

 

So, water you waiting for? Give us a call today to set up an appointment! And, for more WaterSmart Tips visit AquaAmerica.com.

 

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Aqua Gives Back with Community Volunteerism Program

As a company, Aqua believes in giving back to the communities we serve, and recognizes the value that volunteer service has for both local organizations as well as our employees. It is with this mindset, that an initiative to roll out a Community Volunteerism Pilot Program at Aqua was created. Through this program, employees will be able to participate in company-sponsored community outreach events, and build camaraderie at the same time.

"I am very excited that we are piloting a volunteer program across Aqua," said Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Karen Heisler. "This year, our goal is to set up various company-sponsored events at local community organizations in the areas where we serve and live. This is a great program that complements our United Way corporate giving program. Actively engaging and assisting the organization makes the activities personally fulfilling. In addition, these activities enable Aqua employees to interact with other colleagues in departments with which they might not have regular interaction."


To ensure the program is as successful as possible, the pilot is being rolled out slowly in a few locations, while exploring how to expand it across all of Aqua's states. To kick things off, Ohio and Pennsylvania locations participated in a few volunteerism events. 

In Ohio, Aqua employees volunteered at a local food bank, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Employees from Aqua Pennsylvania made two trips to Philabundance, the region's largest hunger relief organization. Among the volunteers assisting with sorting, packaging and preparing food items for distribution, was Aqua President and CEO Chris Franklin.


"This is great, we're getting a chance to help other people, get reacquainted with friends, get a little exercise, all good things," said Franklin.

This new program allows Aqua to expand our corporate social responsibility and emphasizes our company's commitment to community service. The overwhelming response from those involved in this initiative so far has been positive, and volunteers are getting a lot out of their experiences, including a feeling of teamwork.


"This is a really good way to give back to the communities we serve, and to come together as a team," said HRIS Analyst Andrew Calhoun. "One moment that really resonated with me was when I took a second to stop and look around the room and saw the entire group working as a team. For one day, we weren't from different departments, we weren't supervisors or supervisees; we were all equals with a common job title – volunteer."

 

 

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LEAD IS SERIOUS BUSINESS

At Aqua, public health protection is a cornerstone of our business. That’s why we take lead very seriously. As part of our efforts, we are supporting the national effort to raise awareness about lead poisoning prevention during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. The question is what can the average person do to prevent lead in their drinking water? 

Believe it or not, the average person, and especially the homeowner, can do a lot. Lead is not in the water delivered to your home. Lead in drinking water actually originates in the pipe (owned by the property owner) from the street to the home and/or in the home plumbing pipe, solder, and plumbing fixtures inside the home. 

Aqua actually works hard to make sure the water chemistry we deliver to your street is not corrosive to help protect your plumbing, but every home is unique and can have specific issues beyond our control.

So let’s start with a couple simple things you can do, as well as some specific recommendations for renters. Remember let’s get the lead out!

 

1. Don’t cook, make baby formula, or drink from hot water. Lead can be more easily dissolved into warm water. Therefore, use cold water for your drinking and food preparation, especially baby formula and baby food. 

2. Replace old faucets with new water saving and lead-free faucets. Did you know old faucets can have up to 6 percent lead in the brass inside them? We find old faucets with brass containing lead to be a big reason for why there are elevated levels when we sample at peoples homes.

3. Remove and clean your faucet aerators every month. Every faucet has a little screen on it called an aerator to make the water come out nicely. You can remove it, clean it, or replace it in most cases.

4. Get your home tested for lead! You can contact your local health department to ask if they can help you test for lead.

5. Do you have a lead service line from the street into your home? This is something you can check. If you scratch the pipe that is coming INTO your water meter, you can get a rough idea if its lead or not. If you scratch it easily and it looks the color of a nickel, it may be lead. If it looks like a penny, it’s copper. Click here to learn more. If you want, once you scratch the section, you can even use a simple home test kit for $20 and check it yourself. If you still are not sure, contact your water supplier and/or your local plumber for confirmation/investigation. If you can’t access your meter,then look at the age of your home. Some areas of the U.S. used lead service lines until 1955. If your house is pre-1955, then it’s a potential candidate for inspection/check. 

6. If you have a lead service line, remove it! Don’t wait, contact a plumber and have it removed. If a water supplier is doing work and informs you that your service line is lead, get it replaced! Get the lead out!

7. Does your home plumbing have lead solder? If your home was built prior to 1988, it may have lead solder. Sometimes, do-it-yourself homeowners would do plumbing repairs using left-over lead solder after 1988. We have actually found large globs of lead solder in home plumbing below faucets that were replaced a long time ago. See #5 above on the test kit. 

8. Use a home filtration device if you want added protection. If you can’t do any of items above and are not sure if you have a lead service line, can’t remove the line (you might be renting), or want extra protection, a home filtration device may be your best option. See the information here from the National Sanitation foundation on how to select the proper device

9. If you are a renter, ask your property manager if they have a lead service line, if they tested the property for lead in the water, or to have the property water tested for lead. If you cannot get the property manager to provide the information, your local water utility might have information. If they do not and you cannot get the water tested and are still concerned, we recommend following item #8. You can also contact your local health department to ask if they can help you test for lead.

 

 

In conclusion, lead is serious business. As a parent, I know the worries we have about the things that can impact our children. Follow the advice above and lead in drinking water won’t be one of them.

 

For more information about preventing lead poisoning not only in drinking water but from paint and dirt, click here.

 

 

 

 

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The Top 5 Aquatic-Themed Halloween Costumes

Image: The Thrifty Gifter 

Halloween is right around the corner. Your youngest child wants to go as Elsaagain—and your oldest just can’t seem to decide. Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Through the years we’ve seen some amazing costumes. So, whether you’re still searching for your kids or yourself, we’ve got you covered.

We may be a little biased toward the water-themed ones. But how could we not? Just look how awesome they are.

Jellyfish

This costume is extremely easy to make, but the results are electric. Find an old umbrella, cover it in colorful streamers, and voilà!

For an extra touch: Tape some glow sticks to the inside of the umbrella.

 

  

Scuba diver

You’ll be swimming in candy! All you need to do is grab some old sweats, a couple of soda bottles, flippers, and your goggles. A major bonus for this costume is that it will it keep you warm all night!

For an extra touch: Use a fishing net or large fish bowl for your candy bag.

 

 

Mermaid/Merman

You can’t go wrong with a classic. Even before Disney’s The Little Mermaid hit big screens, this costume was popular. Now’s your chance to bring your own twist to it!

Just start with any brightly colored top. To mimic a flipper, cut a large piece of fabric in the desired shape and glue it to the front of your plants. For scales, cut out little ovals and taper them all the way down your legs.
 

For an extra touch: Glue sequins and glitter to your tail for additional wow factor. 

 

 

A shower

Yes, you read that correctly. This clever costume is one of our favorites. All you need is a hula-hoop, shower curtain, sticks or pipe, and backpack.

 

For an extra touch: Add cotton balls around the base for the appearance of suds.

 

 http://www.instructables.com/id/Shower-Costume/

Aquaman/Aquawoman

We’ve saved the best for last. And, no we did not pick this one because it has Aqua in the name. (Ok maybe we did). But that doesn’t mean this isn’t one of the coolest costumes out there.

Throw on an orange tee, green tights, and shorts and you’re good to go.

For an extra touch: Paint a cheap plastic pitchfork gold to turn it into a majestic trident!

 

https://rncrawforddesign.wordpress.com/2015/09/14/aquaman-costume-tutorial/

 

Bonus: Fish tank

 

We couldn’t bear to leave this one out. Mix and match tchotchkes from around the house for a personalized tank. All you need is a cardboard box, tape, paint and a lot of glue.

 

For an extra touch: Dress the whole family as fish for the best night of trick-or-treating!

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/halloween-costumes-for-boys-that-go-beyond-superheroes_us_560b0a2ee4b0dd850309b6d8

 

 

Feeling inspired yet? Good! We can’t wait to see what you end up creating. Let us know what your favorite costumes are in the comments below.

  

 

From all of us here at Aqua, Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Water-Smart Tips for a Safe Halloween

 

October is National Safety Month. As you know, we here at Aqua America make water safety a top priority and with Halloween just around the corner we want to give you a few water-smart tips to ensure a safe, enjoyable All Hallows’ Eve.

 

1. Skip the Sprinklers

Whether you like it or not, trick-or-treaters will inevitably run across your yard on their way to the door this Halloween. While keeping your lawn hydrated is always important, we stress that you do not run your sprinklers or water the grass within 24 hours of Halloween festivities. Wet grass poses the threat of slips and falls for children – especially in the dark. So, skip the sprinklers this Halloween and conserve water! The trick-or-treaters (and your water bill) will thank you.

 

2. Halloween Hydration is Key

 

We cannot stress this enough: do not forget to hydrate this Halloween. Trick-or-treating typically takes hours and while you may not realize it, you do a lot of walking in that time. To avoid or reduce the risk of dehydration, toss a water bottle in your and your little ones’ bags before leaving the house. If you choose to stay in and hand out treats instead, we highly recommend investing in some mini water bottles to offer worn down trick-or-treaters and their parents.

 

3. Beware: Wet Leaves

 

Lawns littered with leaves are commonplace this time of year – however, so are thunderstorms and morning dew. Unfortunately, these things can create some major Halloween safety issues seeing as wet leaves are both incredibly slippery and difficult to spot at night. To prevent slipping hazards: make sure you rake, sweep and dispose of any leaves from walkways and porches before dusk on Halloween night.

 

 

4. Garden Hoses are not Ghoul-Friendly

 

Maintaining your garden in the fall season is just as important as it is in the spring, and we get that. That being said, be sure to check your gardening hose is shut off and put away before prime trick-or-treating hours begin (usually around 5:30 p.m.). You do not want to run the risk of someone getting sprayed with water, slipping on the wet driveway or tripping over your garden hose and tumbling to the ground in the dark of night.

 

5. Patch Your Pipes

 

With the combined increase in rainfall and low temperatures this October, many of us begin to run the risk of leaky pipes and flooded basements. No one wants to fall victim to a nasty “trick” so make sure to check your pipes in the days leading up to Halloween – if you see a crack or leak, contact an expert immediately. Puddles of water or mud can quickly build up along your property as a result of damaged pipes and no one wants their holiday ruined by plumbing issues.

   

From all of us at Aqua, we hope you have a safe and spooky Halloween!

 

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