The Groundwork for a Better Tomorrow

When Aqua says we’re laying the groundwork for a better tomorrow, we’re usually talking about building the pipes, treatment plants, and other infrastructure that clean and deliver drinking water to families — and carry away and clean up their wastewater. 

Of course, before a family can turn on the tap, they need a home. Aqua’s Austin-based Brent Reeh and Troy Bolin joined about a dozen or so volunteers with Habitat for Humanity on Feb. 1 to help build a new home for a family in North Woodcreek in the Texas Hill Country. Reeh and Bolin spent the day mostly painting the interior of the house.

Whether we’re laying pipe or rolling a second coat of paint, we’re proud to build a better tomorrow for the communities we serve.

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Polar Vortex, Polar Shmortex - Let's Go For A Swim!

You might not be surprised to learn that Aqua employees know a thing or two about plungers, but only a hardy few might take the plunge into a frozen lake. Aqua Virginia Operations Manager Tim Castillo and Area Manager Luther Ghorley dove into that challenge on Feb. 1st at the eighth annual Polar Bear Plunge in the Lake Land’Or community near Fredericksburg in central Virginia. Sponsored by the Wright's Chapel United Methodist Church in Ladysmith since 2006, the plunge raises money for programs like emergency heating assistance and food pantries that help families in need. Wright’s Chapel Pastor Charles Tillapaugh said that the event has grown to include other churches and community organizations, and the plunge raised about $19,500 this year.


 

The frosty lake temperature of 32 degrees required organizers to break the ice for about 50 swimmers, some in costume, including Castillo, who dressed as Aquaman. After the plunge, a few hundred residents enjoyed bonfires and a chili cook-off, and Aqua’s Dale Stewart served s’mores.

Castillo’s Aquaman emerged from the pack as best male costume.

Ghorley noted that the lake’s sharp ice blocks made the plunge a little painful — though bearable, and both men welcomed the opportunity to do good while having fun. “Aqua delivers essential services to families, and it’s important to us to contribute to the health and well-being of our communities,” said Castillo.

Aqua provides drinking water and wastewater service to about 4,500 people in Lake Land’or.

 

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Get WaterSmart!

We’re very excited to show off Aqua WaterSmart, an interactive program to help consumers conserve water in their homes and learn about the water treatment process. The new program is available on the home page of the Aqua America website.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates the U.S. population has doubled over the last 30 years and the demand for drinking water has tripled during this time,” said Aqua Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis. “Further, more than half of our country is facing water shortages. At Aqua, we recognize the importance of proactive conservation to protect this important resource and remain committed to bringing clean, safe drinking water to our customers for the cost of about a penny a gallon.” 

The interactive program is an illustration of a home, with clickable elements in each room that provide water conservation tips for everyday activities, such as cleaning, gardening and personal care. The program is available as a mobile web app on tablets and smartphones, and accessible on most web browsers for desktops and laptops.  

The program also focuses on education about how water travels from a source to the tap, with downloadable infographics that explain the processes to treat surface water, groundwater, and wastewater. “Most people turn on their tap water every day without realizing how source water is treated and then delivered to their home,” said Karl Kyriss, executive vice president, who oversees Aqua’s information technology department. “We created this resource to help educate consumers about the entire process, which further supports our focus on conservation. By conserving water use in day-to-day activities, we save water and energy, reducing our total environmental impact.

By working together to save water in small ways throughout our home and daily routines, we can make a big impact and help save water,” added DeBenedictis.

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Help Us Help You

When you turn on the faucet, you expect water to flow. But both extremely cold and extremely hot weather can cause water mains to break — and cause customers to lose their water service for a few hours or longer while we make repairs. Aqua provides an essential service that our customers count on every day, and we understand that you want to know as soon as possible if your water service is disrupted in some way. Now, we can get important information to you however you prefer — by email, text or phone.

  

WaterSmart Alerts is our automated notification system to inform customers about local water service issues faster and more efficiently. WaterSmart Alerts automatically notifies customers by phone, email, or text message about water main breaks, precautionary boil advisories, temporary disruptions and other issues that affect your water service.

But WaterSmart Alerts only work if we have your updated contact information. That means we need you to help us help you!

Just log on to AquaAmerica.com and click on “WaterSmart Alerts” to update your contact information, or customers without Internet access can call 877.987.2782 to tell us how you’d like to be notified about local water service issues in the future. You can choose your preferred method of contact — email, phone call or text message.

Don’t be surprised if we call or email you with other news about Aqua that we think you’ll want to know. For example, we might call to tell you about a customer town hall where you can learn about your community’s water system and meet the employees who operate it. Or we might call to let you know in advance if we’re flushing the pipes in your area. It’s important to us to keep in touch with our customers. After all, you had us at hello.

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Our 125-Year Journey

It all began in 1886 when a group of engineering professors from Swarthmore College in southeastern Pennsylvania became concerned about the safety of the local water supply. With typhoid fever surfacing in nearby towns, they were taking no chances. They abandoned their wells and established their own water company with one primary goal: to protect public health. Starting that home-grown organization, Springfield Water Company, was like throwing a pebble in a pond.

These educators could not have imagined the huge ripple effects that would be produced by their tiny venture, which served the residents of a small village. The company ultimately grew into Aqua America, a publicly traded, water- and wastewater-utility holding company, serving about three million people in 10 states.

The company’s 125-year journey has been an adventure with growth, expansion, building and modernization. Throughout the years, the company’s core mission has remained true to its origins: to provide quality water in a way that ensures public health and environmental quality.

“We’ve always been the industry leader for sustainability of our product and environmental protection, long before those two phrases became the mantra,” said Nick DeBenedictis, Aqua America chairman and CEO. “To meet those goals, we have made huge capital investments in our infrastructure. We are an engineering and technology-driven company that strives for excellence in our product.”

During DeBenedictis’ 20-year tenure, the company has experienced unprecedented growth through acquisitions. Focusing on its core business of water and wastewater utilities, Aqua has completed more than 250 ventures, which have quadrupled its customer base and more than tripled the number of employees, from approximately 500 to 1,700.

“Our vision for growth through acquisition was driven by the need for greater efficiency in our country’s water systems,” explained DeBenedictis, the company’s longest-serving chairman.

“The United States has more than 50,000 water systems, and less than one percent of these systems serve more than 100,000 people. Much of the infrastructure dates back to the early 1900s. A huge capital investment is necessary over the next 20 years for our country’s systems to meet more stringent federal and state drinking-water regulations and standards. By acquiring smaller, less efficient, less well-capitalized companies and investing in improvements, Aqua is helping to meet this need.

“At the same time, this growth strategy benefits our customers and employees, as well as our investors,” he added. “Since 1992, we’ve increased our value to shareholders from $100 million market capitalization to about $4.5 billion market capitalization.”

For more information about Aqua America & Nicholas DeBenedictis check out:

About Aqua

What it Means to Lead: Nicholas DeBenedictis, Chairman, CEO, and President of Aqua America, Inc.

Pennoni Honors Aqua America Chairman and CEO Nicholas DeBenedictis with Award

Aqua America NY Times Section

 

 

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