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7 Ways to Effectively Communicate the Safety of Your Drinking Water Supply

EPADue to the intense media coverage of the Flint, MI water crisis, water utility managers across the country are now fielding questions from customers and local media outlets about the safety of drinking water.  The good news is that each community water system should already be equipped with the information customers are seeking, thanks to the Safe Drinking Water Act requirement to provide an annual Consumer Confidence Report (CCR) to the public. 

The CCR, frequently called a Water Quality Report, summarizes results of the previous year’s drinking water quality analyses, communicates information about the water supply system of interest to the customer, and conveys health impacts of drinking water.  Assuming each water system already made paper copies of the CCR available and/or posted a direct link to the entire report on the utility’s website as required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), a reminder to customers that the information is always available to them is a prudent consideration. 

Here are seven ways a community water system can make the most out of a CCR report:

  1. Newsletter article: Use a monthly or quarterly newsletter to remind customers that they can access the utility’s CCR in its entirety online and be sure to provide the web address.  To go one step further, provide a summary of the CCR’s findings for those who don’t want to read the entire report.  Also make paper copies available, if requested.
  2. Website article: Even if the CCR is already posted on the utility’s website, a brief article that includes the original link to the report can be posted in a prominent place on the website’s home page. 
  3. Utility bills: Print a brief thank you to customers for entrusting the utility with providing their drinking water and include a link to the CCR.
  4. Be available to the media: If contacted by a reporter, consider it an opportunity to promote the water system’s successes and explain the treatment techniques that ensure public safety.  If asked about violations that appear on the CCR, explain what was done to rectify the situation.
  5. News release: Go directly to the media with information about local drinking water quality and include the link to the CCR report.  
  6. Social media: Posting a link to the CCR on Twitter and Facebook is a simple and free way to remind your followers that a utility is being transparent about water safety.
  7. Infographics: Use infographics to illustrate your message.  Infographics can be effective in so many places – website, newsletter, utility bills, news releases, and social media.  Here’s an example of an infographic that AE2S Communications produced for the City of St. Cloud, MN. 

Lead compliance St Cloud
If you have questions about communicating information about your community water system, contact Andrea Boe, AE2S Communications Practice Leader, at Andrea.Boe@ae2s.com.





If you have any questions concerning the content of this newsletter,
please contact Heather Syverson at 701-364-9111 or Heather.Syverson@ae2s.com.
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