Gwinnett County (Ga.)
Department of Water Resources
Miles of sewer pipeline: 2,650
No. sewer customers: 146,000
Consultants: Jordan, Jones and Goulding, Atlanta
Program development: $53,000
Average No. monthly visitors: 60
In a three-year time frame through 2008, 90% of the sewer overflows on residential service lines in Gwinnett County, Ga., were related to backups caused by fats, oil, and grease (FOG). Having worked extensively with restaurants to minimize buildup on commercial pipelines, Gwinnett County Department of Water Resources managers realized they'd need to launch another awareness campaign — this time, for homeowners.
Located 30 miles northeast of down-town Atlanta, Gwinnett was one of the nation's fastest growing counties in the 1980s, 1990s, and into the 2000s. By 2007, more than 776,000 people called the county home; 2025 population projections surpass 1 million.
In 2008, the department updated the decade-old ordinance with which businesses must comply to connect to the sewer system, implementing requirements specifically for disposing of fats, oils, and grease. But the department doesn't have similar regulatory authority over home-owners. Managers hoped that, by learning how what goes down the drain or through the garbage disposal contributes to sewage overflows in their home or neighborhood, residents would begin throwing out cooking residue rather than flushing it down the sink.
The department needed a public education program that makes that connection in the average homeowner's mind. It also had to be fun, appealing to both children and adults.
Through the department's demand-services contract, managers requested that Jordan, Jones and Goulding (JJG) develop content for a Web site and other out-reach components. After brainstorming by employees of both organizations produced a theme — Unclog the FOG — the department secured the URL of the same name to be housed within the county's Web site at www.gwinnettcounty.com.