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More and more, biosolids issues are becoming public issues. In fact, public opinion can affect local regulations and ultimately affect your biosolids management processes. You can ask for help with outreach, but you cannot contract it away. And the public is demanding involvement. How can you get public support?

There are three levels of connecting with the public—public relations, public education, and public involvement. How does your utility rank on each of the levels? No matter where you rank, there are some simple ways you can improve your connection with the public. Most importantly: be visible, be accessible to the public and the media, and be proactive in gaining public support.

How would you answer these questions from the public?

Can the recycling of biosolids affect the food supply?

If land application is safe, why do some food companies say they won't buy crops grown on sites where biosolids are applied?

What are pathogens and what is the difference between pathogens in livestock manures and pathogens in biosolids?

What about all of the metals and toxics from industry?

Can Mad Cow disease (prions) be spread by land application of biosolids

How do you know every particle meets all of the regulations?

In a recently completed Solids Management Master Plan for the Snyderville Basin Water Reclamation District, CH2M HILL led a Citizen's Advisory Committee (CAC) to assist the District in making critical decisions. The process involved all three levels of connecting with the public — public relations, public education, and public involvement. Three CAC meetings were held during the project. The CAC was given all project details and a methodology was developed which allowed the CAC to determine the importance of their defined benefits on the decision making process. In addition a public meeting was held at the end of the project to review the decisions with the community. This cost-to-benefit approach allowed the ratepayers to directly influence decisions and become a part of the solution.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2004

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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