The Goleta Sanitary District received the Exceptional Public Outreach & Advocacy award for a large district by the California Special Districts Association (CSDA) during the association’s Annual Conference and Exhibitor Showcase which was held in Indian Wells from September 24-27, 2018.
The Goleta Sanitary District (GSD) was awarded for their “2017 Jurassic Plant Tour Open House” which was developed to increase community awareness and public education. During this free five-hour event, GSD hosted over 1,100 members of the public. The plant was transformed into a fun, interactive setting around the Jurassic Plant Tour theme, which was inspired by the concept of one-water – all the water on Earth being the same water that was around since the time of the dinosaurs. Participants learned about the water cycle and their impact on it, and the District’s role in the protection of public health and the environment through the treatment of wastewater and the creation of recycled water and biosolids. With limited resources, Goleta Sanitary District’s 35 member staff worked for over six months to create the set design, staging, attractions, educational material, and outreach program. Attendees had adventure passes to visit the information stations and take tours of the treatment facility and lab, learning about the science and processes of wastewater treatment along the way – all to get entered into raffle prize drawings. Visitors were encouraged to make water cycle bracelets, locate their service connection on the District’s GIS mapping system, watch a demonstration of the District’s Vactor truck, and tour the Closed Circuit Television Inspection (CCTVI) truck to view a clogged pipe, among other activities. The focus of the Jurassic Plant Tour Open House was on sharing information about the public’s role and impact on the water cycle, the connection to wastewater collection and treatment, and the valuable work that is done by the Goleta Sanitary District to recapture resources for the benefit of society.
The criteria for this award included a demonstration of an increase in the district’s visibility with the public, Legislature and key stakeholders. In addition, the award recognizes the district’s improvement in district-constituent communication through creative, thorough and appropriate content.