120Water has recently partnered with two major cities to help them manage their respective water programs. Newark, NJ and Denver, CO have implemented innovative methods to increase customer engagement and ensure that all residents have access to clean, safe, and reliable drinking water.
120Water has been selected by the City of Newark, NJ to manage “The Newark Way of Thinking & Drinking,” a post lead service line (LSL) replacement program.
Newark began a 30-month LSL replacement program in 2019 with the goal of replacing approximately 18,000 LSLs that deliver drinking water to residents–at no cost to homeowners. The program is both highly complex and challenging given that water at the tap must be validated to be lead compliant six months after service lines are replaced, and Newark has a large population of renters who are transient and may not feel engaged with the effort.
120Water and Newark together developed a program, called ”The Newark Way of Thinking & Drinking,” to educate residents about the LSL replacement program and the actions they can take to reduce their exposure to lead in drinking water, and to increase the rate of return of water testing kits.
The communications program developed by 120Water and Newark includes a variety of communication tactics to engage Newark residents, including a multi-step direct mail campaign with educational content, interactive games, and a viral program to encourage residents to share the clean water mission. There’s an emphasis on engaging kids in the community with puzzles, stickers, and games that make the subject of clean drinking water fun and educational.
Six months after an LSL is replaced, the 120Water solution triggers the mailing of a verification testing kit to residents with simple, step-by-step directions to fill the bottle and return it in the mailer provided. Results go directly to a state certified laboratory where they are analyzed. The verification and results are automatically tracked via 120Water’s cloud-based software, where the data can be leveraged to trigger follow-on communications if appropriate.
“Since tap water must be retested after a lead service line is replaced, we must rely on residents and landlords to ensure the testing takes place accurately and on time,” said Tiffany Stewart, Assistant Director at Newark’s Department of Water. “120Water serves as an extension of our staff to educate residents about the importance of the lead drinking water program, gain their cooperation, and ultimately create better public health.”
In addition, 120Water has partnered with the city of Denver to manage their Lead Service Line Replacement Program sampling. Denver has been a model of proactive action, and their LSLR program is a large-scale project to replace LSLs over the next 10-15 years.
120Water will facilitate the city’s pre and post LSL replacement water sampling program for lead in addition to its pitcher/filter supply & distribution program.
Denver Water has been developing a comprehensive inventory of known and suspected lead services lines using a combination of property records, water quality tests and visual inspections of service lines. Residents with homes identified as having a possible lead service line will be notified by mail in Spring 2020. Denver Water will replace lead service lines on a neighborhood-by-neighborhood basis.
As lines are replaced or disrupted during the process, Denver is proactively offering residents a pitcher/filter to ensure their confidence in water quality. A few weeks before receiving the pitcher/filter, residents will receive communication materials by mail to introduce the program and increase awareness so residents will expect the pitchers and know why and how to use them. The 120Water program will deliver approximately 150,000 NSF53-certified pitcher/filters and 1.2 million replacement filters at no cost to residents over a three year period, along with clear instructions for usage.
During the same period, 120Water will manage a water sampling program to perform pre-lead service line water testing at the tap, managing the mailing of testing kits to affected residents, along with detailed and easy instructions on how residents should perform the tests. The kits will be returned to partner laboratories, analyzed, and all associated data will be loaded into the 120Water cloud-based platform. From there, tap test results to Denver Water and residents are automated and delivered both electronically and by mail.
The Denver Water Lead Replacement Program (LRP) is designed to reduce potential lead exposure for customers with lead service lines and plumbing. The water Denver Water delivers to homes and businesses is lead-free, but lead can enter the water as it moves through the customers’ lead-containing plumbing and service lines.
Denver Water received EPA approval for the LRP in December 2019 and the program launched in March 2020. The goal is to replace an estimated 65,000 lead service lines with copper lines in Denver Water’s service area at no charge to the customer over the next 15 years.
To learn more about these programs, check out the following articles: