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.

Share This Post:

Why Water Mains Break

One of the biggest concerns for water utilities during extremely hot or cold weather is water main breaks. Water mains are expected to last a long time – as long as 100 years in many cases. But with many miles of pipe buried underground, it’s reasonable to expect a particular section of pipe will fail or break at some point. The challenge for water utilities is to work proactively to minimize the number of breaks and to respond effectively when a main does break.

While the oldest water mains were made of wood, by the late 1800s, a variety of iron pipe was being used to construct water distribution systems. Common iron varieties included cast and galvanized in the early part of the 20th Century, with galvanized used primarily for smaller diameter pipe. Cast iron pipe was used until the late 1950s when stronger, more flexible ductile iron pipe became common. Plastic pipe, including Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) became common in the 1970s. The primary difference between these two plastic pipes is that PVC is stiffer than HDPE, which is more flexible. Even though pipe is expected to last for decades, that doesn’t mean it won’t break at some point. While it is impossible to predict specific pipe breaks, we know that environmental conditions are a major factor in water main breaks.

In the northern and northeast areas of the country where winters are more extreme, cold soils and cold water combine to add stress to pipes, which can—and often do—result in breaks. Iron, like all metals, contracts as temperatures drop. This problem is more common when the source water is surface water (rivers and lakes). These waters are significantly affected by air temperature and can drop to near freezing in the winter. A temperature difference of just 10 degrees in water or air temperatures can cause pipes to contract or expand. Additional stress inside and outside the pipe occurs as temperatures near the freezing point, making the pipe vulnerable to breakage. Water temperature changes more slowly than air temperature changes so the impact of cold water on pipes can cause breakage to take place as many as a couple days after temperatures freeze. Water systems with groundwater sources (wells) have more stable water temperatures because the water is not affected by air temperatures, and therefore, not as significantly impacted. 

Just as pipes are adversely affected by cold weather conditions, they are also affected by severe heat. In some groundwater systems in the southern and southwestern states, the soils are like sponges and hold lots of water. However, during extended periods of hot temperature when high demands for water increases water withdrawal from the aquifers, the soil becomes very dry. In these conditions, the soil contracts and subsides, pulling away from the pipe and diminishing support for the water main. The absence of support for the main can cause it to break. This particular problem led the City of Houston, Texas to begin to convert its groundwater supply to surface water.

Although older mains are generally more susceptible to breaks, breaks can occur on newer mains. This is most likely the result of improper installation or a manufacturing issue with that particular section of pipe. By examining trends in water main breaks over time, a utility is better able to identify categories of pipe that are more prone to breaks, and thus proactively target that pipe for replacement. Aqua employs such tactics in determining which mains to replace. By the end of 2013, Aqua expects to have spent $170 million of its $325 million capital improvement program on water main replacement and associated work.

Share This Post:

Top 10 Memorial Day Activities

It’s hard to believe, but Memorial Day is officially upon us. After this past winter, everyone is ready for the warm weather, BBQ’s, pool parties, and trips to the beach. The summer is a time to explore the outdoors. Whether you plan on keeping it low-key or traveling this holiday, we’ve got the perfect activities for you to enjoy with family and friends.

1. Have a picnic in the park. 

Enjoy some rays, pack your favorite sandwich and roll around in the grass a little.

 

2. Walk to the local ice cream parlor

Get a scoop of that sweet mint chocolate chip you love or colorful cotton candy (if you’re feeling like a daredevil).

 

3. Put on your cowboy/girl boots or rocker T-shirt 

Head to a concert or a music festival. Live music always seems to be ten times better in the summer. 

 

4. Get in a round of 18.

The United States is home to some of the most beautiful golf courses. Pick one of the top 100 best courses here.

 

5. Put your toes in the sand

 

Whether it’s the Jersey shore, the Outer Banks, Virginia Beach or Galveston Island – the beach is always the first thought in everyone’s head when it comes to Memorial Day Weekend!

 

6. Family time is the best time!

Sit on the porch, deck, or have a water balloon fight in the backyard with the kids or friends. After all it’s the small life pleasures that really matter.

 

7. Take a hike!

 

One of the most underrated activities is hiking. Mornings are the best time to get out in the wilderness and reconnect with nature!

 

8. Cast your line

Go fishing on the nearest lake and bring home a fresh catch for dinner. You can’t get much more organic than that!

 

9. Enjoy the weather on horseback

 

Horses are one of the world’s most beautiful creatures. Spend the weekend horseback riding through the fields or visit a local course to make it a fun, competitive activity.

 

10. Camping by the lake is an oldie but goody.

Some of the best places to set up tents around the U.S. are Pine Grove Furnace State Park, Big Bend National Park, and Shenandoah National Park.

 

Your adventure awaits! We hope all of our Aqua employees, clients, friends and family have a safe Memorial Day weekend.

Share This Post: