At Aqua, we’re obsessed with all things related to our most precious resource: water
Since we’re also obsessed with the source of that water (Earth) it should come as no surprise that we’re big fans of Earth Day
In anticipation of the upcoming occasion, which eco-conscious folks all over the world will celebrate on April 22, we thought we’d take an inside look at the ways Aqua is committed to acting as a sustainable steward to the environment.
Read our thought-provoking conversation below with Network Control Engineer Dan Kirchheimer, our Aqua employee responsible for compiling Aqua’s sustainability report.
With Earth Day just around the corner, what does Aqua do as a company to celebrate or recognize the occasion?
Aqua sponsors a number of stream cleanup days throughout March and April where employees and other volunteers walk along streams, creeks and rivers and pick up trash and debris that have collected along the shoreline and in the water. Each year, volunteers pull hundreds of tons of trash across numerous cleanup sites.
The final mountains of trash bags contain more than just plastic bags, paper and soda cans. Volunteers find tires, engines, refrigerators, shopping carts, scrap metal and just about anything you can imagine. Aqua partners with the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy, the Chester Ridley Crum Watersheds Association (CRC), and the Brandywine Red Clay Alliance, just to name a few. The annual CRC cleanup alone has removed more than 600,000 pounds of debris over the last 18 years.
Aqua Illinois customers in Kankakee depend solely on the Kankakee River to serve more than 80,000 residents. Aqua Illinois employees and local volunteers are now entering their 34th annual river cleanup as part of the Adopt-a-River program. The company is responsible for a one mile portion of the river that employees clean twice a year. This is one of the oldest continuous river clean-ups in the country.
Aqua Pennsylvania has also supported the TreeVitalize Watersheds program since 2005. This group has assisted in the planting of more than 40,000 trees along the banks of key watersheds for the last decade.
By investing in reforesting stream banks, this natural infrastructure helps reduce the amount of contaminants reaching our source water and helps slow natural erosion and soil degradation. This greatly improves stream water quality, improves the habitat for local environments and decreases storm water runoff.
Aqua Illinois employees during the annual Kankakee River Clean Up
What can Aqua customers do to make a sustainable difference this Earth Day?
Carry a Nalgene, thermos or other water bottle around with you – even a simple cup with a lid. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to save money and still have fresh, cold water at hand.
Other ideas for how to help in a positive way on Earth Day include:
· Volunteering for a local stream cleaning event. It will only take a few hours, and your actions will make a huge difference and make you feel great.
· Planting trees along a creek, in a park or even your own backyard.
· Composting your old food scraps and feeding that to your hungry plants.
· Replacing a shower head to a low flow variety. If you live in a drought-prone area, this can save thousands of gallons of water over its lifetime for only a few dollars.
Just keep in mind, if you do nothing, expect nothing to change. One person may not make a difference, but if everybody just helped a little bit, things would start to look a lot better.
How would you like to see Aqua and similar organizations continue to practice and improve sustainability efforts in the future?
Ever since the Industrial Revolution, man has created amazing machines and technology to increase efficiency, production and our way of life. However, for too long, the environment has paid the price for our actions. In this modern era, we have the knowledge and ability to do things better and keep the environment in mind. Being sustainable doesn’t always have to cost more. I’d like to see more companies get creative and create mutually beneficial partnerships that both save money and help protect the environment.
“Going green” shouldn’t be a catch phrase or a way to simply cut costs. Companies have the power to inspire and create change. They can and should find opportunities that help everyone involved.
We don’t always have to keep doing things because we’ve always done them that way. Change can be good. We should embrace technology, new ideas, methods, viewpoints and ways of thinking.
Inspired to make a change this Earth Day? Remember what Dan said – everyone pitching in a little bit can make a big difference.
What will you pledge to do for your planet on Earth Day 2016?