Nov 24, 2014 by Chris Wood, Ph.D.
The Peachtree City Water and Sewerage Authority (PCWASA) has been committed to educating the public on important issues for years, and the industry is taking notice.
During its recent Fall Conference in Dalton, the Georgia Association of Water Professionals (GAWP) recognized PCWASA for outstanding achievement in public education. The Authority brought home two coveted Public Education industry awards for Best New Media and Best Direct Media, honors received due to the emphasis in public education and outreach through its website and customer newsletter, respectively.
“As a member of GAWP, I can attest that these industry awards are not easy to win,” remarked Frank Destadio during the PCWASA November meeting, when the awards were announced. “The Authority should be commended for these accomplishments.” Destadio was in attendance at the meeting due to his role on the Peachtree City Planning Commission. He is an engineer by profession as well for CH2M Hill.
The GAWP Public Education Award for Best New Media judges water and sewer utility websites, social media platforms, blogs, etc. according to the amount of public information addressing key issues that impact the public, especially the utility’s customers. The PCWASA website – at www.pcwasa.org – features news and information on relevant topics such as the Authority’s waste water reuse and the proper disposal of household fats, oils, and grease (FOG), among others.
The Best Direct Media GAWP Public Education Award recognizes the utility with the best newsletter, billing insert, brochure or other collateral material, which likewise provides key educational messages for target audiences.
PCWASA’s customer newsletter – The Pipeline – is published at least twice each year and distributed to customers through a billing insert. Fayette Water System, which handles customer billing for PCWASA, inserts the Authority’s newsletter at no additional cost for postage or handling, since the weight of the publication does not cause the entire customer bill to exceed one ounce.
“Educating the public about issues that are important to them – and which impact our system and operations – is critically important,” says Stephen Hogan, PCWASA General Manager. “We choose to be proactive in informing our customers, especially, because we want them to be more knowledgeable about what it is that we do in the community, and what they can do to help us.”
As an example, Hogan notes that something as simple as customer compliance in properly disposing of household grease can save the utility thousands of dollars in system maintenance and potential fines from regulatory agencies, which can occur with sewer spills and overflows caused by sewer lines clogged with grease.
The GAWP Public Education Awards are expected to be presented by officials from the professional association to the PCWASA Board during the Authority’s December meeting.
Chris Wood, Ph.D.
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