Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority
Public education and engagement are top goals in the Beaufort-Jasper Water and Sewer Authority’s (BJWSA) strategic plan. So, in October 2019, BJWSA debuted its flagship plant tour program, Trick or Treatment, which also became virtual due to the pandemic.
Nearly 500 fifth and sixth graders toured two water reclamation facilities over two days. At the start of each tour, two mascots, Flow (the Clean Water Advocate) and Swampy (the Great Swamp Steward) greeted students. In keeping with the Halloween timing and theme, Public Affairs branded BJWSA staff as superheroes, and each wore a costume. Signs around the plant reminded attendees that there were “Superheroes at Work” and gave statistics on BJWSA’s sustainability initiatives, such as the solar arrays and the Great Swamp Reclamation project.
Interactive booths throughout the facility allowed students to look through a microscope and see good vs. bad bacteria, learn about what NOT to flush down the toilet, discover how the cost of tap water stacks up against bottled water and other common liquids, watch the SCADA team in action, and build a mini water engineering system. Upon exiting the tour, each student received a copy of the wastewater report, a tour brochure with “what to flush” facts and a bag of candy.
“Our goal was to bring to the students an educational but fun manner of learning,” says Lou Brown, public education and engagement planner (PEEP). “It’s exciting how much our school/public outreach has grown within the last couple of years, and I am proud to be involved, particularly with the Trick or Treatment endeavor. It was an extremely positive partnership with Beaufort and Jasper counties school systems.”
NACWA awarded BJWSA a 2021 National Environmental Achievement Award in the Public Information & Education – Educational Program category for its imaginative program. Congratulations to BJWSA and everyone involved!