How to Prepare for Hurricane Season Before Diving into Summer Fun

We know you’re excited for the summer season. You have everything prepared: extra sunscreen, beach towels, sunglasses and plenty of water.

What about hurricane season though?

The National Weather Service  classifies hurricane season as June 1 through November 30. Although extreme weather can be daunting, don’t panic: There are simple ways to be prepared for interruptions in water service.

If your local meteorologist warns of a looming hurricane, here’s what you need to know to make sure you and your family remain safe and secure.  

Make a Hurricane Kit

If your water and power go out, chances are you will need some supplies to keep you and your family as comfortable as possible. Make sure to keep up to 72 hours worth of supplies in a safe, dry place. This includes bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, candles and even some fun items like decks of cards or board games. Click here for a full list compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Save Water

Make sure to save water in advance of a hurricane. Pitchers, pots and bathtubs are good places to store extra water from your faucets in case water service is indeed interrupted.

How to Boil Water

Once water service is restored, Aqua will likely issue a precautionary boil advisory to ensure your water is purified and safe to use. Boiling your water before using it for drinking or cooking is a crucial step in ensuring the safety of you and your family.

Here’s a handy instructional guide:

If possible, infants and pregnant women should use bottled or stored water instead of boiled tap water for drinking and cooking during a boil advisory.

Stay Connected

Make sure to keep an eye on the following channels to ensure you receive any updates from Aqua about boil advisories or water services.

After the storm has passed, Aqua will collect water samples once service is restored and will run tests to ensure that no bacteriological contamination took place during repairs or periods of pressure loss. These laboratory tests might take a couple of days to complete.

With a stocked hurricane kit, extra water on hand and a pledge not to panic, you’re as prepared for hurricane season as one can be. Now it’s time to get back to the beach!

For additional information, reach out to our customer service representatives at 887-987-2782, or visit us at AquaAmerica.com to sign up to sign up for WaterSmart alerts.

 

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Stop and Smell the Flowers: It’s World Environment Day

If you’re anything like those of us on the Aqua team, Earth’s beauty blows you away every single day of the week.

Today, though, we have a good reason to take our celebration of our planet to another level: It’s World Environment Day.

First observed in 1972, World Environment Day both acknowledges the complex beauty of our home planet and brings awareness to the many factors that endanger the precious ecosystems and habitats that surround us.  

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day is Connecting People to Nature, which was chosen by Canada, this year’s host country.

985 events are on the #WorldEnvironmentDay map!
Tell us how you'll connect #WithNature & let's get to 1,000: https://t.co/gTGjbXCfwS pic.twitter.com/WRAJ05gWki

— UN Environment (@UNEP) May 31, 2017

Take a moment to think about how you connect to nature on a daily basis. In a single day, you might mow the lawn, listen to birds sing and snap a photo of a beautiful bundle of flowers to post online. Take it one step further, though, and think about what concrete actions could be done to preserve that grass, those birds or those flowers.

At Aqua, we’re determined to protect and provide water—Earth’s most precious resource—in an environmentally responsible, sustainable way. In addition to our daily operations providing water to our customers, we’re lucky that our employees are individually enthusiastic about being positive stewards of the environment.

In Pennsylvania, members of Aqua’s leadership team such as Chief Environmental Officer Chris Crockett, Director of Environment Compliance Deborah Watkins and Watershed Specialist Robert Kahley came together last October to plant native trees at the Perkiomen Creek Watershed, which is adjacent to Aqua’s Green Lane reservoir.

The group of volunteers planted more than 620 trees in one day that now consistently release fresh oxygen into the air, ultimately working toward a cleaner, healthier ecosystem across the neighboring community and the world.

Likewise, Aqua employees know the importance of all aspects of our environment—not just water. Our own Kevin M. Culver wrote an ode to bugs (yes, bugs!) in and around the Kankakee River in Illinois.

Why, Kevin asked our blog readers, should they care about bugs? Here’s his answer:

I care about the bugs because one can determine the health of a stream by the number and type of bugs living in the stream. Not only can the bugs be used to determine water quality, but fish and fresh water mussels can also be used as biological indicators of water quality.

There you have it: A healthy bug is a sign of healthy water. Who wouldn’t care about that?

Clearly, the environment is a crucial matter to Aqua employees, both personally and professionally, and we couldn’t be prouder of their efforts.

We encourage you to get involved during World Environment Day! Take the time to go outside, smell the fresh air and think about how lucky we are to be inhabitants of our beautiful planet. You can also take part in celebrating the day by sharing photos of the Earth’s beauty with the hashtag #WithNature on your favorite social media channels.

 

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State Spotlight: Your Guide to Aquatic Summer Fun in New Jersey

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start to the summer season, and for many of us in the northeastern region of the country, this means plenty of trips to the sandy shores of New Jersey are on the horizon.

The state has a rich history of tourism connected to vacationing at New Jersey shorelines. While many tourists are expected to visit the famous beaches each summer, plenty of Garden State residents and visitors will also be looking for fun and spontaneous ways to beat the heat.

Aqua is proud to serve eleven counties in New Jersey that offer plenty water-themed activities for tourists and residents alike. Here’s a brief look at the summer fun our communities have to offer.

Beaches

What would a summer in New Jersey be without trips to the beach? Residents and friends of Aqua in Egg Harbor Township certainly know a thing or two about beaches with their own proximity to sunny shorelines and Atlantic City.

Plus, Berkeley Township residents are just a hop, skip and jump away from Seaside Heights, where the boardwalk and beaches boast festivals, sports and events all throughout the season. Both areas—among plenty of other beaches along the state’s coast—are prime destinations for summer getaways.

Waterparks

One alternative to a dip in the ocean is to visit a waterpark. These aquatic amusement parks can make waves for your favorite beach sports and offer exciting water-based activities for people of all ages.

Families in Clementon will celebrate 110 years of summer fun at Clementon Park & Splash World this year. Plus, our friends in Vernon Township might consider a visit to take in the views and adventure opportunities of Mountain Creek.

(Psst: To keep your family safe while swimming this summer, check out our tips on water safety.)

Local Lakes

Visiting nearby lakes, like those in and around Hardyston Township, is another way to join in on the aquatic fun.

If swimming isn’t your favorite, boating or fishing can be equally as refreshing alternatives. We even found members of the Laurel Springs community sharing their best catches on Laurel Lake’s Facebook page.

Other Water-based Activities

You don’t necessarily need large bodies of water to find fun. In Phillipsburg, families can enjoy a ride on a steam engine train—steam means water—and learn more about the history of railway travel in the state.

Lebanon Township will host its third annual Sprinkler Day this August in partnership with their local fire company. It’s hard to beat a celebration of community and water!

We love to see our neighbors and communities getting ready for another memorable summer. What aquatic activities do you have planned?

 

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“Water You Drinking” for Drinking Water Week?

We have one question for you: Water you drinking?

May 7–13 is Drinking Water Week, and to celebrate, we’re serving up some refreshing and tasty ways to stay hydrated as the summer season inches closer every day.

Enjoy a tall glass of water like never before with these tasty (and healthy!) recipes for fruit-flavored treats. We're interested to hear which recipe you'd most likely try! Read through these and vote for your favorite! 

  • 16 ounces of prickly pears
  • 48 ounces of water

Juice prickly pear fruit with a juicer, or scoop the insides of the prickly pear and add to a blender or food processor and puree. Pour mixture into an ice cube tray. Once frozen, add a few cubes into a glass of water and enjoy!

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 cups of blackberries
  • ½ cup of mint leaves

Mash blackberries into a pitcher. Rub mint leaves to release the oils and place in pitcher with the blackberries. Add water and let the ingredients infuse for at least two hours, or overnight for more flavor.

  • 1 lime
  • 8 mint leaves
  • 4 cups of water
  • Ice

Slice limes and add to a pitcher. Add mint leaves to pitcher, followed by water and ice. 

  • 6 cups of water
  • 2 mandarin oranges, sliced into wedges
  • Handful of blueberries
  • Ice

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, and refrigerate up to 24 hours for full flavor. To intensify flavor, squeeze the oranges and blueberries.

Which of these delicious, watery concoctions sounds best to you? We want to hear! Head to our Facebook and Twitter pages to select the Aqua fan-favorite water flavor. Let the voting begin!

 

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Every Day is Earth Day at Aqua!

Aqua employees participate in stream clean up efforts throughout our eight states.

 By Aqua Vice President and Chief Environmental Officer Chris Crockett

It’s always a good time to consider how we can be better stewards of our environment. At Aqua, we think about this question every day as we strive to carry out our mission of protecting and providing Earth’s most essential resource. With Earth Day tomorrow, Saturday, April 22, we hope this question is on everyone’s minds, at Aqua and beyond.


As the vice president and chief environmental officer, I am routinely asked how Aqua is helping the planet and what we could be doing better. Let me take a moment to explain some specific things we’re doing and how they’ve made a difference in the environment. I’ll also explain our efforts to develop a sustainability plan for Aqua to help guide and improve our environmental impacts moving forward.

Believe it or not, there are more than 100 activities Aqua does company-wide to help protect the planet, and we do some of them every day.

Reducing Lost Water

Since only 2.5 percent of the world’s water is fresh water, and only about a third of that, or less than one percent, is accessible, it’s our most significant responsibility as a water utility to manage our water resources carefully. One key daily activity that’s fundamental to our company’s sustainability is our ability to reduce water loss. We’re experts at replacing pipes, changing meters and re-using water in various ways. 

Keeping our Streams and Rivers Clean

Another aspect of our daily work is treating wastewater. Our nearly 175 wastewater plants return 26 million gallons of wastewater per day back into our streams and rivers cleaner than it came out. This water is not only critical to water supplies, but it’s also critical to the multitude of fish and flora that need it to survive. 

Aqua employees at the Media Wastewater Plant in PA.

Protecting our Water Supplies for Future Generations

Protecting the aquifers, streams and rivers that supply our water is also a critical daily function. In Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, teams work to manage lakes and reservoirs and protect the streams that feed them to keep their quantity and quality sustainable. This involves preserving lands, monitoring our streams, planting trees, educating communities and local leaders, partnering with environmental or watershed groups, conducting stream cleanups, or providing input on local development and local ordinances. Aqua Illinois recently won the American Water Works Association (AWWA) source water protection award for their efforts.  

Reducing Waste From Our Business

Treating water also creates waste from the things we take out of the water and wastewater to clean it. At our water plants, we use belt filter presses to drain water from the sludge from treatment to reduce the amount we need to send to landfills. We have also explored and use efforts to beneficially reuse the waste from wastewater treatment to put nutrients on farm fields. In some areas, we use spray irrigation to apply treated wastewater to fields to recharge the groundwater and avoid impacts on local streams.

Using Energy Wisely

Aqua uses many innovative approaches to reduce our energy use. These activities include LED lighting, pump-curve calibrations, variable-flow (VFD) pumps, peak-demand response, air blower and diffuser improvements and solar panels. We also manage energy through our fleet. We measure idling times to reduce gas waste and air emissions and look for efficiency improvements when we buy new cars and trucks. 

   

Aqua solar fields benefit the environment across some of our eight states. One of which is at our Pickering Water Treatment Plant in PA, which is 6.5 acres and reduces our usage by 2.2 million kWh annually. This is the equivalent of avoiding 51,450 gallons of gasoline per year or the equivalent emissions as 380 passenger cars.

Sustainability Planning

Aqua is embarking on a multi-year effort to develop a sustainability plan. This effort involves a couple of steps, starting with benchmarking Aqua’s sustainability metrics against other utilities and developing a sustainability activity inventory. This will take most of 2017 to complete as we look at more than 34 different standard metrics from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). 

In 2018, we’ll begin to understand which sustainability metrics are important to our employees and our customers to help determine which areas will become our core focus. Next, we’ll develop a governance structure to help drive the achievement and measurement of our sustainability effort. Finally, in 2019, we’ll develop a plan that sets the goals, objectives, and short- and long-term actions we need to take to improve our sustainability as a company. We know Aqua does many things that are sustainable, but we can and need to do better if we want to catch up to our peers in the industry.

We’ll be soliciting ideas and feedback in the future, so please keep an eye out for ways you can share your thoughts.

Last, I want to thank everyone at Aqua for protecting and providing Earth’s most essential resource every day! There is no greater responsibility to our communities, our families and our planet!

Did you know? Other ways Aqua is making a difference:

  • Some of Aqua’s reservoirs have preserved land around them. This land is home to threatened and endangered species. By preserving land to protect our water supplies, we are also helping to protect and re-establish threatened and endangered species
  • Aqua has been participating in TreeVitalize in Pennsylvania since 2005. In total, Aqua has planted more than 43,658 trees for 277 projects, equal to 302 acres of trees. What does this mean for the environment? Well, each tree sequesters 26 to 48 pounds of carbon per year depending on size. Each acre of trees counters about 26,000 miles of driving roughly, so in total, these trees counter about 7.8 million miles of driving per year. Aqua’s fleet drives about 17.4 million miles per year, so these trees counter roughly 45 percent of Aqua’s carbon footprint from driving.
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