Colleen Arnold is president of the Aqua division of Essential Utilities, Inc.
Aqua is a leading water and wastewater utility with 1,600 employees and more than 130 years of industry expertise. Each year, Aqua delivers more than 86 billion gallons of water to approximately 3 million people – including families, businesses and school communities – across eight states. Aqua is a leader in renewing and improving water and wastewater infrastructure, having invested more than $2 billion in capital improvements over the past five years alone.
Arnold was named to her current role upon the closing of Essential’s acquisition of natural gas distribution company Peoples. She was previously deputy chief operating officer (DCOO) for Aqua, a role she held since September 2015. Prior to that, Arnold held the roles of director of water quality and environmental compliance, where she organized and oversaw the Compliance Assurance Program, which ensures compliance with environmental regulations and permits for all Aqua operations, as well as manager of treatment and water quality at Aqua Pennsylvania.
During her tenure at Aqua, Arnold has headed many successful initiatives, including realigning and leading the National Safety program, establishing and leading an Enterprise Asset Management program, as well as other best practice initiatives including water loss and treatment optimization across Aqua’s footprint.
Arnold has more than 25 years of experience in environmental engineering and utility operations management, as well as extensive background and education in water quality. She began her career as a consultant engineer with two top tier firms where she provided services to water and wastewater utilities in New York City, Philadelphia, and throughout the country.
Arnold worked as water quality manager and assistant water director for more than eight years with the City of Wilmington (Delaware). There she established an asset management program, implemented a work order management system and an enhanced long-term control plan for the combined sewer program, and managed a $40 million energy performance contract with Honeywell.
Education, Professional Memberships & Honors
Arnold, a licensed professional engineer in Delaware, earned her B.S. in civil engineering from the University of Massachusetts, her M.S. in environmental engineering from Manhattan College, and her executive MBA from Villanova University.
Arnold’s professional memberships include more than 25 years with the American Water Works Association, where she currently serves on the Partnership for Safe Water steering committee and the Technical & Educational Council. She is also a member of the Water Environment Federation. She has been a board member for the Partnership for Delaware Estuary since 2016.
In 2019, while working toward her MBA at Villanova University, Arnold received the Bartley Medallion, the highest distinction the Villanova School of Business presents to a graduating student, reflecting significant contributions made to the school community.