Nontraditional, but effective. See how one utility uses YouTube for biosolids education.


Forget the screaming sheep, dancing skeletons and thousands of lip-synced renditions of Let it Go; YouTube is more than just a place to waste a lunch hour. It is, in fact, a space many utilities have entered for public relations efforts.

For the Region of Waterloo in Cambridge, Ontario, the website is a launching point for a conversation on biosolids. A new video, posted on the region’s YouTube channel, humorously explains the role of biosolids and the function of the region’s 13 wastewater treatment plants. According to a report in the Cambridge Times, the intent of the video is to open up dialogue, explain the region’s biosolids master plan and alleviate some of the stigma around the topic.

 

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Last year, the region was forced to put an $80 million heat-drying facility on hold because of public outcry. The video attempts to answer some of the concerns expressed at that time.

“[The video] is really a good example of how we can be creative in our communications,” said Councilor Sean Strickland. “We had some issues expressed from the public about our communication around biosolids and potential locations of facilities.”

The video will be shown during a children’s groundwater festival later this year, and officials also discussed playing it in school classrooms.

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Could a video make a difference? Certainly, it’s a positive approach to embracing nontraditional media and communicating with the public. And, it’s a perfect example of The Fire Chief project, which hopes to elevate and move the wastewater industry forward.


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