Flushing Awesome

April 27, 2016

Featured

 The King County Wastewater Treatment Division launched its Flushing Awesome campaign to raise awareness and deter people from flushing nondispersable products. Photo courtesy of King County.

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division launched its Flushing Awesome campaign to raise awareness and deter people from flushing nondispersable products. Photo courtesy of King County.

In 2014, the King County Wastewater Treatment Division (WTD) launched its Flushing Awesome campaign to raise awareness and deter people in Washington State from flushing nondisperable products such as wipes, tampons, condoms, hair, dental floss, and grease. The campaign featured two cartoon musical videos — a parody on artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop” called “This is Flushing Awesome,” as well as a takeoff from “A Chorus Line” named “One to Flush.”

The campaign was developed in response to the need to educate ratepayers about the effects of nonflushable waste on the county’s sewer system, which has caused an increasing number of operational-related problems, said Annie Kolb-Nelson, communications specialist with King County WTD.

During the campaign, King County sold products to promote the Flushing Awesome campaign. Click to see the products. Photo courtesy of King County.

During the campaign, King County sold products to promote the Flushing Awesome campaign. Click to see the products. Photo courtesy of King County.

“There is a certain uncomfortableness with discussing bathroom-related topics and these types of products, which can make it challenging to approach,” Kolb-Nelson said. “Humor allows us to break the ice and make it easier to talk about. It can be a great tool to get people to pay attention.”

Buzz generated by the videos prompted a local television station to visit the treatment facility and run a news segment, which helped bolster the reach of the campaign, according to Kolb-Nelson.

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

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