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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Winter Weather Road Treatment and Drinking Water

 

Winter weather can wreak havoc on area roadways and on utility systems, particularly water and electric companies.  The freeze-and-thaw cycle can lead to water main breaks and freezing temperatures can cause indoor plumbing and service lines to freeze, leading to service interruptions and broken pipes inside the home. Frost in the ground, which penetrates deeper when there is no snow cover or when moisture gets in the ground, will add an enormous downward load on pipes causing them to crack; and if shallow enough, to freeze. Ice on tree limbs can create unbearable weight, which can cause them to breach power lines, leading to service outages.  And we all know the potential hazard of driving on roadways that have not been treated for ice.

Municipalities and state highway departments use various forms of salt to keep highways from freezing so vehicles can drive safely. Road salt is commonly made up of some combination of sodium, chloride and calcium, all of which are naturally occurring and can be found in drinking water on any given day. They are not removed through the conventional  drinking water treatment process.

When runoff occurs, as a result of thawing or rain, road salts are washed from the roadways into the ground and surface waters, like rivers, streams and reservoirs. When runoff occurs as a result of a heavy rain, the impact of the salts on the waterways are dissipated by the dilution of the large volume of rain water. The impact of the runoff may also differ based on the size of the watershed area and the size of the affected body of surface water, such as the Delaware River compared to a local stream.

Usually, the impact of the road salts on the drinking water is minimal, with just a few customers who can taste the difference calling the utility. However, if the runoff occurs after a series of road saltings due to multiple storms and the ground remains frozen for an extended period of time, which prevents the percolation of the salt into the ground, the high concentrations of salt running into a small local stream can result in a salty taste to the drinking water.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the many state environmental regulatory agencies—including the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP)—have no regulatory standards for either sodium or calcium in drinking water.

EPA and many state environmental regulatory agencies—such as PA DEP— have secondary (aesthetic) regulatory standards for chloride. Secondary standards are not considered to have any public health risks.

Primary and secondary drinking water standards are set with the general public in mind. If any customer feels they are an exception to the general public and have a concern about their drinking water, they should contact their primary health care provider for counsel.

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Imposter Alert: Protect Yourself and Your Belongings

Aqua recently learned of an incident involving a man identifying himself as a water company employee to gain access into a customer’s home and steal their belongings. Aqua would like to use this unfortunate event as an opportunity to remind our customers about this issue so you’re more aware in the future.

 

Imagine it’s the early morning and you’re home alone. A man outside identifies himself as a water company employee. He says there are leaks in your area, and he’s checking the homes on your street and needs to check your meter and the inside pipes. Once inside, he asks you to run water in the util­ity sink as he checks the upstairs bathroom sink. While upstairs, he steals jewelry and money left on a dresser.

 

In most cases, the only time Aqua would need to be inside your home is to service or exchange a meter or to respond to a problem about which you called us. In the former case, Aqua would contact you by mail or phone to schedule an appointment first.

 

There are a few exceptions when you might receive an unannounced visit from Aqua:

 

  • An employee might come to your door to make you aware of an unscheduled service outage, such as a main break. In this case, the employee would not need to access the inside of your home. An Aqua employee might also make an unannounced visit to investigate a property that has had multiple “zero usage” bills or an account that has not had a meter read for more than 45 days.
  • If a meter reader has trouble getting a remote meter read from outside your home, he might ask to enter you home to read the meter, in which case he would present a photo ID card.

 

 

For your safety and security, we encourage all customers to be extra cautious. Unfortunately, thieves like these might strike again. You can protect yourself by remembering the following information.

  1. All Aqua employees carry company identifica­tion. In all cases, please confirm the representative’s identification before letting them into your home.
  2. All employees dress in Aqua-branded attire similar to the uniform shown above.
  3. Company vehicles (mostly white Chevrolets) with the Aqua logo prominently displayed are always used.

If you encounter someone who is pretending to be an Aqua employee, please call your local police department and report them.

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