Shea Dunifon is the Education Coordinator for Pinellas County in Florida. In this episode, Shea says that municipalities can shift the paradigm in how they think about engaging the public, especially younger generations. She explains creating teaching materials to accommodate multiple grade levels as well as schools with varying levels of resources because accessibility is an important pillar in her values. Shea talks about creating more informed citizens and filling the water industry’s talent pipeline of the future.
Lori Harrison is Director of Creative Projects and Jon Harrison is Art Director at the Water Environment Federation. In this episode Lori and Jon talk about Why Water’s Worth It, a fun and engaging children’s book featuring a little girl who guides readers through the world of clean water, how it’s managed, and the importance of everyone working together to protect it. They discuss the positive response to the book, how it can be used as a public outreach tool and STEM resource, and versions to be released in Spanish and French. Lori and Jon also explain what it was like to write and illustrate the book, with its rhyming text and more than 40 original, hand-drawn illustrations. The book can be ordered on WEF’s website, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble.
Saul Kinter is Business Development Manager at DC Water. In this episode, Saul explains how the utility has built support for biosolids – including its Bloom soil amendment – from third-party validators including soil scientists, farmers, homeowners, and construction companies. He discusses the need to build understanding of biosolids in the community and that meeting directly with people is vital because any message spreads best by word-of-mouth. Saul says to gain third-party endorsement of a product and drive sales, a utility needs the science, data, and research to back up the marketing.
Gilbert Trejo is the Chief Technical Officer for El Paso Water. In this episode, Gilbert discusses the utility’s direct potable reuse project that will put wastewater effluent through several types of advanced treatment and then distribute it directly into the drinking water system. He explains this project is part of El Paso’s long-running emphasis on diversifying its water resources portfolio. Gilbert said a survey of customers found that 85 percent said they would drink this water. He also talks about the process of working with state regulators, a visit by CNN and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and how the use of “toilet to tap” is an opportunity to educate.