Don’t Flush That

January 21, 2016

Featured

The City of Keene, N.H., worked with high school students to create a music video advising against flushing wipes; rags; towels; fats, oils, and grease; and other items that can clog pipes. Photo courtesy of the Cheshire Career Center TV and Film program at Keene (N.H.) High School.

The City of Keene, N.H., worked with high school students to create a music video advising against flushing wipes; rags; towels; fats, oils, and grease; and other items that can clog pipes. Photo courtesy of the Cheshire Career Center TV and Film program at Keene (N.H.) High School.

In New Hampshire, the City of Keene worked with local high school students to create a music video for “Don’t Flush That,” a song featuring a manhole superhero and set to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac.”

Lyrics advise against flushing used baby wipes; cloth and paper rags; fats, oils, and grease; and plastic bags because they “don’t go down in the swirl” but “clog the city’s pipes,” leading to “overflowing toilets on a Saturday night.”

The video, which played regularly on Keene’s local television cable channel, draws attention to misleading product labeling for items that should not be discarded down the toilet.

The “Don’t Flush That” song, set to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac,” uses humor to educate about items that should not be discarded down the toilet. Photo courtesy of the Cheshire Career Center TV and Film program at Keene High School.

The “Don’t Flush That” song, set to the tune of Bruce Springsteen’s “Pink Cadillac,” uses humor to educate about items that should not be discarded down the toilet. Photo courtesy of the Cheshire Career Center TV and Film program at Keene High School.

Eric Swope, industrial pretreatment coordinator at the Keene Wastewater Treatment Plant, said inspiration for the video came from the Singing Sewermen. “I thought those [public service announcements] were pretty funny and relayed a message in a way that people might respond to,” he said.

Swope, who is a big Springsteen fan, worked out the lyrics while driving to and from work. Then, he contacted Keene High School and received assistance from students in the school’s Digital Film Studies program.

“The superhero idea and the whole arc of the story was the complete creation of the film studies’ students,” Swope said. “Based on feedback, I believe the video has helped to change at least some detrimental behaviors.”

— Jeff Gunderson, WEF Highlights

WEF Highlights Showcases Flushables Outreach Efforts

As the nondispersibles issue continues to grow, utilities are turning to humor and lighthearted messages to educate the public. In the footsteps of the Singing Sewermen from Thames Water (London), utilities are creating unique and humorous public service announcements (PSAs) and campaigns to educate the public about what can and cannot go down the drain or toilet.

Find WEF Highlights articles featuring these efforts by searching for the keyword FlushablePSA.

Have a unique flushable PSA to share? Send it to Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights editor, at jfulcher@wef.org.

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