6 Ways to Improve Water Quality Right In Your Backyard

August is National Water Quality Month, which is a great reason to remember that clean water is an invaluable resource to our communities both big and small. Aqua is committed to ensuring water quality. Our efforts to update and maintain infrastructure are one way Aqua helps make a difference, but we like celebrating the simple ways individuals can make a difference, too.

Here are six easy ways you can stand with us in our pledge to protect the water in our communities.

Wash the Days of Disposing of Chemicals in Your Sink or Toilet Down the Drain

If you need to get rid of paint, chemical cleaners or any other questionable liquids, do not dispose of them in your sink! Some of the chemicals in these products can be toxic, so you do not want them to get into your water supply. Instead, it’s easy to find a proper way to dispose of these hazardous waste materials by searching Earth911 or by contacting your local sanitation, public works or environmental health department.

Additionally, non-biodegradable objects such as baby wipes, feminine hygiene products and medicines should never be flushed down the toilet as a method of disposal. Instead, dispose these items in their proper trash receptacles or see if your local pharmacy has a take-back program to safely get rid of pills.

Hit the Road with Improper Car-Washing Techniques

You might think washing your car at home is a no-brainer, but you may be surprised to know that because many car-washing soaps contain mixtures of various chemicals, you could be unknowingly contaminating your water supply.

When you use cleaning products inside your home, the used water goes straight to a treatment plant through sanitary sewer systems. The leftover water from washing a car outside, however, often goes down storm drains and ends up in water supply systems without undergoing proper treatment.

Instead, consider getting your car washed at a commercial business designed to handle all the watery runoff. Professional car washes tend to use 60 percent less water than at-home methods, too. If you prefer to wash your own car, make sure to invest in biodegradable and phosphate-free cleaners. Wash on an area that absorbs water, such as gravel or grass, and use a trigger nozzle on your hose to conserve water. 

Put Your Banana Peels To Good Use

 

Common lawn chemicals such as fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides and insecticides are often used to care for gardens and yards. When they aren’t used correctly, though, they can enter into streams where they can harm critters and contaminate drinking water.

Instead, consider using compost as a natural fertilizer. The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has a helpful guide to how to get started. Composting adds nutrients and organic matter back into soil without relying on harmful chemicals found in synthetic fertilizers. 

Make Picking Up Your Pet’s Number Two Your Number One Priority

When you don’t pick up your pet’s waste, you put yourself and your water supply at risk. During rain storms, a lot of this waste runs straight into storm drains that—you guessed it—do not get treated to ensure water quality.

Did you know you can make it a priority for your neighborhood to clean up after its four-legged friends by coming together to install a community waste bag station? Consider fundraising to buy a ready-made waste station, or rise to the challenge building your own.

Throw Litter For a Loop

Litter on streets, sidewalks and parking lots easily washes into our water systems. Even if you would never dream of littering, it’s important to note that it still happens all the time. People are less likely to litter when it isn’t the norm, so instead of relying on others to pick up trash, challenge yourself to lead by example. 

Organize a Community Clean-Up 

The most effective way to protect water quality in your community is to go straight to the source. Enacting a community clean-up of your local watershed can do wonders for your local ecosystem and water supply. There are plenty of existing toolkits that make it as easy as possible for community members to organize clean-up efforts at local rivers or streams.

You can also search for established clean-up projects in your area. Most groups are always looking for volunteers and would be happy to include you in their efforts.

Clearly, a great deal of planning goes into a community clean-up, but a commitment to water quality in the long-run is beneficial to all.

There are so many ways to protect the water in your community. Together we can ensure that the quality of our water remains a priority for ourselves, our families and generations to come. 

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A Message of Thanks to Aqua Volunteers


Caption: Kim Joyce volunteering in Panama via a partnership between Aqua America and Villanova University.

By Aqua Vice President of Regulatory, Government and External Affairs, Kim Joyce

April is National Volunteer Month. In recognition of this month, organizations, companies and individuals in cities all over the nation make an extra effort to thank volunteers, sign up new ones and contribute to causes that matter.

As someone serving on the committee to help roll out and oversee our Community Volunteerism Program, I’m proud to acknowledge our employees’ commitment to volunteerism. This dedication is what inspired us to launch the program last year.

Aqua’s volunteerism program organizes community outreach events that allow our employees to connect with one another. Plenty of Aqua employees and their families can be found serving communities across the eight states we serve.

Some examples that highlight the wide array of volunteer activities in which Aqua employees have participated and continue to participate include:

In line with our mission to supply communities with clean water, Aqua Illinois has participated in the state’s Adopt-a-River program for 15 years. As part of the program, volunteers have worked to clean up the Kankakee River, which sources one of our water treatment plants.

In North Carolina, our crews responded quickly when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked Aqua to supply clean drinking water to more than two dozen homes with contaminated wells. We were proud to expedite this process in order to minimize the negative impact on the Wake Forest community.

By planting more than 620 new trees in one day, volunteers from Aqua Pennsylvania connected with local conservationists and residents to bring plenty of fresh air to the Perkiomen Creek Watershed.

To help promote fire safety, something we care about deeply at Aqua, our Ohio employees help to install fire alarms and teams across our states have focused on fundraising for various local fire department. It makes us proud to support brave men and women who often volunteer to risk their lives protecting our communities.

In New Jersey, our team biked from “City to Shore” for several years to raise awareness and funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Our employees in Virginia took their love of water to a bass fishing tournament to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project.

Hats off to Aqua Indiana employees who participated in South Haven’s Team Up to Clean Up event on Earth Day. Several Aqua employees volunteered to ready the community parks for the new season. They helped install bike racks, benches and grills at the parks, and re-installed fencing and a gate.

Finally, Aqua Texas sponsored and took part in the Wimberley Village Library summer reading program, which provides families an opportunity to discover and develop the joy of reading.

Whether as part of a company event or due to a personal dedication to a cause, every volunteer effort made by our Aqua employees is an effort that matters.

Why We Volunteer

Providing exceptional water service to our customers includes all aspects of making their communities better places to live. At Aqua, we strongly believe that volunteerism is a vital part of that commitment to each and every community.

As National Volunteer Month comes to a close, please join me in thanking our employees—and all the other volunteers in your lives—for their service both in and outside the office. Together, they create a positive impact that not only benefits our communities, but also inspires us all to continue giving back to the people we serve.

 

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Wonder Women in Worldwide Water Infrastructure

Every March, we celebrate Women’s History Month by honoring women past and present whose commitment, knowledge and achievements have left lasting marks on the world.  

 Women are particularly impactful in the water industry, whether they work with our most precious resource here in the United States or abroad. Between developing infrastructure projects, performing important scientific research, or finding ways to provide clean water to those in need, countless women make global change every day in the realm of water. 

Dr. Deepthi Wickremasinghe, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

 

Honorable Minister Nomvula Mokonyane, Minister of Water Affairs and Sanitation of South Africa

 

Rehema Bavuma, Katosi Women Development Trust, Uganda

 

Khin Ni Ni Thein, Myanmar woman water professional

 

Emma Anakhasyan, Armenian Women for Health and Healthy Environment

 What other women – besides all the ladies here at Aqua, of course – are doing important work in the water industry? Tell us which water wonder women inspire you!   

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Aqua Indiana Contributes $1,500 To Washington Township/Avon Fire Department

Avon, IN — Aqua Indiana (Aqua) presented a $1,500 charitable contribution to the Washington Township/Avon Fire Department on February 8th. The local fire department consists of 57 full-time firefighters and 9 full-time administrative staff. The department protects and serves residents of Washington Township in Hendricks County, Indiana, including Aqua customers in its Hendricks County wastewater division.

Fire Chief Dan Smith and other members of the department gratefully accepted the contribution. Chief Smith thanked Aqua for its generous support and said that the donation would specifically help Station 142, which is an Aqua customer.

“Aqua is proud of the community partnerships we’ve established with organizations like the Washington Township Fire Department,” said Aqua Area Manager Kieran Tansy. “We take great pride in supporting the dozens of volunteers who protect the communities we serve. Aqua knows firsthand the importance of the specialized training it takes to perform our jobs, and we’re thankful to help support the fire department’s ongoing efforts.” 

Aqua Indiana operates 11 utility systems in 11 counties and provides water and wastewater service to more than 80,000 people throughout the state. Visit AquaAmerica.com for more information, or follow Aqua on Facebook at facebook.com/MyAquaAmerica and on Twitter at @MyAquaAmerica.

 

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Aqua Illinois Donates to Local Career Development Initiative and Food Pantry

Aqua Illinois Kankakee Area Manager Melissa Kahoun recently presented a $1,000 check to the Coalition for Hope and Excellence in Education (CHEE), a locally-based initiative with a mission to “prepare a college and career-ready workforce to meet employment needs in Kankakee County,” according to its website.

CHEE is a collaborative effort between the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County and the Community Foundation of Kankakee River Valley. Its role as a facilitator for “collaboration between industry and education” begins by working with local stakeholders, such as the Kankakee Community College, to “ensure industry’s needs for a workforce.”

Much of their work centers on reaching out to the community via job fairs and local events to educate students on STEM, career paths and hiring opportunities in the area. Aqua Illinois is one of many corporate sponsors supporting the effort.

“CHEE provides students a chance to learn and develop skills they may otherwise not be interested in focusing on,” Kahoun said. “It’s important that we, as a utility company, support these efforts and partner with an organization whose mission is to provide more knowledge and growth opportunities for students.”

In addition to Kankakee’s contributions, Illinois’ Northern Regional Supervisor Patrick Wren and Area Manager Joel Gehrett presented a check for $1,000 to Maine Township, a newly acquired system in Cook County. The donation went to the Maine Township Food Pantry, which “provides food on an emergency basis to persons living in the greater Maine Township area,” according to MaineTownship.com.

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