Aqua, Ohio

For this edition of the WCC, we had the opportunity to connect with Stivo DiFranco, Environmental Compliance Manager at Aqua Ohio. DiFranco discusses PFOS/PFOA regulation and other unique challenges to the industry, his advice for others, and more.

Fontus Blue: How long have you been in the industry? How long at your utility company?

DiFranco: I’ve been with Aqua Ohio for almost 1 year and in the industry for close to 30 years.

Fontus Blue: What is the size of the community you serve? How many service connections vs. population?

DiFranco: We operate 37 water and five wastewater treatment facilities serving about 500K people in Ohio.

Fontus Blue: What is a challenge your utility company is facing this year? What do you expect to be an upcoming challenge in 2023? What about the next 5 years?

DiFranco: All utilities are struggling with the financing of infrastructure projects.  Aqua is unique in that it is an investor-owned utility that has its rate structure regulated by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO).  All increases must be approved by PUCO prior to becoming effective. Rate lag, or the time between the time we make a system investment and the time the PUCO allows us to begin recouping the cost of that expense, can present a challenge to the company when it comes to addressing aging infrastructure across our systems. In five years, all systems will struggle with PFOS/PFOA regulation and the new LCRR and LCRI.  

Fontus Blue: Has working with Fontus Blue changed/improved your utility and utility operations? How so?

DiFranco: Fontus Blue has been helpful to Aqua in developing tools and dashboards to monitor water quality.  This is particularly helpful in identifying source changes that may impact water quality. Using your modeling features we are able to evaluate water quality and make real time changes in treatment.

Fontus Blue: If you could share one piece of advice with other utility personnel and leaders in the space, what would it be?

DiFranco: There is no straight path to success in this industry.  Many times, you have to be creative in finding solutions that fit each situation.  Take advantage of the funding available and the resources at the OEPA and USEPA levels.  These organizations are in place to help water and wastewater systems.

Fontus Blue:  What are some relevant newsletters, blogs, or industry leaders you follow for insights and inspiration?

DiFranco: I routinely read the Opflow and AWWA newsletters.  Stay involved in AWWA, it is a national leader in our industry and continued participation is needed to keep policy makers focused on our infrastructure, water supply and water quality needs.
Stivo DiFranco
Environmental Compliance Manager
Aqua, Ohio
Decision Blue Customer Since 2017


Aqua Ohio provides water and wastewater services to more than 3 million people in 8 states and continues to grow its operations through acquisitions. In 2021, Aqua celebrated its 135-year anniversary of protecting and providing water service in the communities it serves.Aqua Ohio is committed to sustainable business practices, excellent customer service, attracting and developing top talent, the strategic growth of our company, delivering shareholder value, investing in technology and infrastructure, and giving back to the communities in which it operates.

Learn More About Aqua

Fontus Blue

Fontus Blue, headquartered in Akron, Ohio, offering multi-objective decision support software services. Fontus Blue provides dedicated partnerships to utilities and plant personnel, working hand-in-hand to craft tailored solutions that ensure the delivery of exceptional drinking water to their customers. Fontus Blue’s network includes utilities in more than twelve states across the Their clients use Decision Blue daily to provide exceptional drinking water to millions of customers.

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