Aqua Wants You to Know the 411 on Lead Exposure

Aqua is committed to informing and educating our customers, communities and employees. This is why we created a video on the important issue of lead exposure. Lead can be found in the air we breathe and the water we drink, but it is possible to prevent exposure. Watch this video to learn more about lead in your water and ways to prevent potential health risks of exposure to protect your family and loved ones. More information about lead exposure can be found on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website.

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Do You Remember the Very First Week of September! – Labor Day Appreciation

We can’t believe it’s September already. What happened to summer – the camping trips, the beach weekends, the barbeques?

We actually shouldn’t be lamenting just yet. There’s still Labor Day! And that means one last hurrah before the leaves start to change and the kids go back to school. This weekend is the perfect time to get together with friends and family and have one more party with fireworks.

So, as we begin to end this incredible summer, we want to take some time to thank and recognize our employees – and every other loyal worker – and thank them for their hard work and dedication. 

Thank you to our crews who work around the clock to respond to emergencies and ensure water service through even the harshest of conditions. Thank you for your diligence and commitment to outstanding service through long hours and unpredictable circumstances to keep clean water flowing from our household taps.

We also owe our thanks to those in other industries who enable us to have the quality of life we appreciate now. Thank you to the carpenters who build our homes and the electricians who climb our power lines during thunderstorms.

These men and women have time and time again demonstrated a true devotion to their work. So, as we take this weekend to enjoy ourselves— let’s also show our appreciation to those who make our lives easier.

 

Thank you from Aqua America!

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The First-Ever Backhoe Challenge

As Aqua America celebrates 130 years of providing high-quality water service, it’s a good time to acknowledge what keeps us going strong: the Aqua employees

From engineers to customer service representatives to support coordinators and beyond, there’s a great group of people behind the water delivered to millions of people every day. That’s why every summer, we spend time at our annual company picnic. 

This year marked something new; something Aqua employees had never seen before. It was the first ever Backhoe Challenge.

 

What do you think looks the most difficult about this picture? Picking up a two-ounce egg with a spoon, OR picking up that same egg with a spoon that is attached to a 17,000 pound, 24-inch backhoe bucket? If you thought it's the latter, you're probably right. Which is what made the Backhoe Challenge such a fun challenge for the Aqua team! 

This inaugural event occurred during our annual company picnic that took place this year on July 21 at the Springton Reservoir, about 40 minutes north of Philadelphia.

It was designed by construction equipment vendor John Deere, and coordinated by our very own director of fleet and supply chain management, Charlie Stevenson, manager of fleet maintenance and compliance, Silvio DeAngelo and manager of Great Valley operations, Mike Filli. 

The idea was to represent all three Southeastern Pennsylvania operating divisions by dividing teams into two. This was determined by each division’s individual competitions that were held a few weeks prior to the finals. The winners were chosen by whichever operators successfully completed the events in the least amount of time. It was definitely a competition worth watching!

There were three events in the competition. Each involved the backhoe in some way or another. 

 

Round 1: The Egg Challenge 

The first event was the egg challenge, as seen above. The objective was to use a tablespoon that was attached to one of the backhoe bucket teeth, on the right side of the operator’s perspective. The operator had to pick up the egg from a sand mound and transport it to a hay bale on the left side of backhoe without breaking the egg. If the egg was broken, they had to start all over again. 

Just wait because it gets even more challenging.

 

Round 2: Balancing Balls  

For the second event, operators were required to move at least three of six, 10-inch diameter balls from atop equally-spaced safety cones with stabilizing cups.

To make matters even more difficult, the cones were lined up on the right side of the operator and the balls had to be placed in a tub located on the left side of the operator. At the end, they were required to return the bucket to the starting board. If the challenge was not completed correctly, they were asked to start over and wait for the cones to be reset.

 

 

 

Round 3: Joining Cylinders 

For the third event of the challenge, operators were required to use a chain with an s-hook attached to the backhoe bucket. They had to hook a vertical cylinder, about the size of a soda can, and move it to a receiving cylinder, which was not much larger 

The vertical cylinder had to be placed at least two thirds of the way into the receiving cylinder. In order for the challenge to be complete, the operators had to disconnect the cylinder and take the empty backhoe bucket back to the starting board.

 

The event seemed to bring everyone together, creating an undeniable energy during the competition. Great Valley manager, Mike Fili, who assisted in constructing the courses, says “There was a great sense of competition and boasting from them in the weeks leading up to the competition. They were talking smack about how they were going to beat one another. They had a lot of fun.”

Silvio DeAngelo saysthat while those competing made it look easy, it was not, as some of the participants had not operated these machines (daily) in years

 

“Even with training, not everyone can operate a backhoe. It requires great hand-eye coordination as well as a great sense of touch. Operators have to watch closely what the bucket is doing, and be even more diligent when using pilot control,” says  DeAngelo.

 

 

And the Winner Is...

The overall winner was theEastern division maintenance crew leader, Joe Sciallis, who admitted the most difficult challenge was the chain and cylinder. He had the honor of taking the Backhoe Challenge trophy back to the division's Willow Grove office.

Vice president of network, Marc Lucca, jokes that the Willow Grove division manager, Rob McNamara, will “bring the trophy to the division managers’ meetings just so they are all reminded of the current Backhoe Challenge Champion.”

It is safe to say that the first-ever Backhoe Challenge was an incredible success! It will be back at next year’s picnic with new and exciting challenges so stay tuned.

 

Learn more about the people behind Aqua’s water service here.

 

 

 

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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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Get to Know Aqua: Operations Support Coordinator Nancy McGee

As we celebrate our 130th Anniversary this year, we celebrate all of our dedicated employees that have made Aqua a great place to work. Operations Support Coordinator Nancy McGee will end her 43-year career with Aqua when she retires at the end of this month. Get to know one of Aqua's longest employees as she shares some of her final thoughts on her career and prepares for the next chapter in her life. Congrats and good luck, Nancy! 

 How long have you worked at Aqua?

43 years. I began my career in 1973 at Garden State Water Company

What was your first job?

Customer service representative

What positions have you held?

Currently I work as the operations support coordinator in New Jersey. Before that, I was a customer service manager for New Jersey and for New Hampshire, when we serviced that area. I was also a billing supervisor in our Bryn Mawr, PA offices.

Which was your favorite and why?

Although my titles have changed, my responsibilities have been about the same throughout. I enjoy that there is always something different every day. There is nothing negative about my job. Some people think that “customer service” is the call center, but the truth is that we’re all in customer service. We are all here to provide a service.

What led to your longevity at Aqua?

Focus. You have to be focused on what you’re doing. I like the challenges that come with the job. My job is not boring. I also like the fact that there’s never a line at the ladies’ room.

What are the most dramatic changes you’ve seen at the company during your 43 years here?

Technology has come a long way. Back in the day, employees relied heavily on direct phone contact to coordinate service between the field and the office. Today, we use digital information to update and document projects.

Have there been any changes in customer interaction or customer queries during your tenure?

Not really. The questions have not really changed because we’re providing the same service today as we did decades ago.

What did you most look forward to coming to work at Aqua?

The variety of challenges that I faced every day and being able to look forward to something different.

What are you looking forward to most about retiring?

I have yet to find out, but I’ll let you know!

Is there anything else you would like to share with Aqua employees before you retire?

Enjoy life.

 

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