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NOT PUBLIC RELATIONS, PUBLIC RELATIONSHIPS!

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Abstract:

This paper presents the findings of a two-year study of public perceptions of biosolids recycling sponsored by the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF).

For more than a decade, the biosolids management industry has often focused on developing “public acceptance” of biosolids management practices that are determined by experts in the field. This approach has not always worked. Indeed, today, in many places, the public is more interested in having greater input in decision-making around biosolids management sites and issues. Traditional public education, outreach, and public relations efforts may no longer be enough to gain “public acceptance” and may, in fact, serve to make the public more wary and distrustful–less accepting.

Today, those involved in managing biosolids and other residuals would benefit by increasing use of public participation processes to create strong two-way communications, involve a wide variety of people (including gatekeepers) in decision-making, and build long-term relationships with stakeholders. These are some of the recommendations of this project.

The final WERF report will be available through WERF and/or the Water Environment Federation (WEF).

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.2175/193864703784292223

Publication date: 2003-01-01

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