On Tuesday, December 13, 2011 we hosted a free, VERY informal, web based seminar on the use of humor to convey public information.
We all do 'it', we all have a funny story or extremely embarrassing moment we recall involving ourselves or our children - but for many the subject is taboo and strictly off limits as being in poor taste.
But humor is a great teaching tool and, for those of us in the clean water services, getting the public to have a rational conversation about recycling what we all 'do' every day has to start somewhere?
This panel discussion focused on 3 different aspects and approaches. Email email@example.com if you would like the link to the session recording.
Steve Anderson writes and performs hilarious parody songs about serious issues such as pharmaceutical residuals and the clogging effect of too much fats in the treatment system. Steve is a Water Resources Analyst and has been known to whip out the guitar and play these educational numbers for visiting groups of schoolchildren. Not only do they get a great giggle out of it, but they learn something, too.
Jeff Bruss is President of Cole Publishing which produces Onsite Installer, Pumper and PRO magazines. Cole Publishing hosts the world's largest environmental and sanitation exposition every year. Known simply as The Pumper Show - it featured prominently in the hilarious 'mocumentary' movie "Kenny." The subject of humor as education, versus reinforcing the stereotypical image of a wastewater service provider, comes up regularly in social media postings. See www.pumpershow.com
Dendra Best is Executive Director of WasteWater Education. Originally from the UK, she will look at how humor translates across the Atlantic and how utilities in England use humor extensively to get the message across! Be sure to stop by and see us in Indy!
Online Distance Learning Seminar
The Case For Affordable Wastewater Management Districts And Loan Programs: 2 Exemplary Case Studies. (more....)
Sara Heger. Extension Engineer Specialist University of Minnesota. Water Resource Center. Onsite Sewage Treatment Program. Otter Tail Water Management District - An exemplary program of affordable, responsible, individual wastewater system ownership and management.
The Otter Tail Water Management District was formed in 1984 as a mechanism to assure the proper onsite treatment of wastewater in a 55 square mile area experiencing decreasing lake water quality and population growth.
Located in West Central Minnesota, two and a half hours from Minneapolis - St. Paul, initially the District served 1200 homes, cabins and businesses and has expanded to cover 1545 connections.
Within the District are 6 lakes, 4 townships and portions of the City of Otter Tail, all using an individual system or are connected to one of sixteen cluster systems. (Currently the number of homes services stands at over 1600)
"A lakeshore property owner on the Passive Plan pays an average of $40 per year past for an administrative fee. Those on the Active Plan pay from $160 to $225 per year, depending on whether or not lift stations are in place." - July 2010: Fergus Fall Journal: "Septic system options available":
More information on this and other University of Minnesota Water Resource Center programs can be obtained by logging on to http://septic.umn.edu
Otter Tail was featured in our 2006 edition of Water To Waste Water To Waste Page Six: Community management options and Responsible Entity Models
Terry Hull, Manager, Hood Canal Septic Loan Program. Enterprise Cascadia. http://www.sbpac.com Cascadia Septic Loan Program
In the second part of today's seminar sessions an alternative means to ensure timely repairs and replacement of individual wastewater systems will be explored. Of great concern to environmental health regulators is the lack of affordable, straightforward, financial assistance for property owners who need it. The Cascadia program is an outstanding success story.
Hood Canal is a hook-shaped, 60-mile long, glacially carved, fjord-like extension of the Puget Sound estuary. Adjacent urban-type development is limited to two small communities, Belfair and Hoodsport. However, dense residential development is present in several areas along its shores. This development is served almost exclusively by individual onsite sewage systems. Shellfish harvest restrictions and marine life mortality associated with declining water quality focused attention on the potential impacts of poorly-functioning systems in this watershed.
The lender sought and received $3.3 million from a major foundation and initiated discussions with state executive officials and legislators to obtain matching capital. This effort, supported by local officials, succeeded in producing a $3.0 million state appropriation.
Agreements were formalized to create a unified, regional program with Kitsap county serving as fiscal intermediary for transfer of state funds to the lender on a cost reimbursement basis. An advisory board comprised of representatives of member governments and one Enterprise Cascadia official established program guidelines and loan protocols. The lender retained authority to administer loans consistent with documented good lending practice. The advisory board meets quarterly to review program activities, advise on procedures, and revise guidelines, as necessary which continue to minimize, manage and contain risk.
As the loan program was developed, Enterprise Cascadia officials and consultants met with local onsite sewage professionals to seek advice on program protocols that would facilitate efficient design, permitting, construction, and contractor compensation. A significant outcome was establishment of a mechanism that allows designers to receive partial payment for costs associated with site assessment, design, and permit fees prior to closing of the repair loan.
The program opened officially in April 2007.
Basic elements of the loan product include:
* Simple application forms available online, by mail, or in person with personalized assistance for loan applicants
* Ability to include of all costs associated with repair or replacement of the sewage system
* Below market interest rates and repayment terms indexed to the owner’s income
* Flexible loan loss reserves that allow approval of loans to owners with poor credit records
* Owner’s choice of certified design, construction, and maintenance service professionals
* Monitoring and maintenance of the system following repair or replacement required as a loan condition with costs paid from an escrow account
In this seminar, Terry Hull will review the success of this loan program and detail how it can be replicated elsewhere.
To provide education which increases public awareness of the link between clean drinking water, safe recreational waters, environmentally sustainable surface and groundwater with watershed based, best management practises related to appropriate wastewater systems, technology, treatment and management.