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Infrastructure projects are crucial for safe, reliable water and wastewater services. Yet, the same project that will benefit hundreds, if not thousands, of customers can be perceived by nearby neighbors as a threat to their most cherished values: family health and safety; property
security; home value; comfort, peace and quiet. Unaddressed, neighbors' negative perception of work conducted for infrastructure improvement can tarnish a utility's reputation, devour time and resources, and bring a standstill to even the most technically well planned project. The experience
of Las Virgenes Municipal Water District during a pipeline realignment outside it's own service area demonstrates the benefits of early communication with affected neighbors, broad and well planned outreach, and continuing contact throughout the project. It shows the importance and
benefits of meshing technical and communications efforts early on, ongoing coordination throughout the project, and implementation of Best Communications Practices, such as identification of key audiences, involvement of community leaders, use of a range of communication techniques, careful
selection of spokespersons, sustained and repeated messaging. Included in this paper are ideas for successful outreach through each phase of a project; alerts to problems; methods for aligning project goals with those of community outreach; and the importance of constant communication and
coordination within the utility.
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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed. WEF Members: Sign in (right panel) with your IngentaConnect user name and password to receive complimentary access.