Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit Emerging Issue Communications

Drinking Water Risk Communication Toolkit
Emerging Issue Communications

  • Inform and help the community understand how to prevent or address a risk that is new or not well-known
  • Communication strategies that can be implemented over time or immediately
  • Examples: Communicating about unregulated contaminant monitoring, detection of an unregulated contaminant, or an unregulated contaminant in the news

Strategies and Tools

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Develop a communication plan

A plan can contain resources ready to use when issues arise

  • Purpose and objectives of communications efforts
  • Description of specific strategies/activities, who you are communicating to, and who is doing the communications
    • Everyday communications, classic and emerging issues communication and emergency communications
    • Customers, community leaders, partners (county, state)
    • Roles/responsibilities for communications
  • Evaluation – how will you know if you are successful?
  • Timeline
  • Resources
    • Past communications that worked well
    • Trusted partner contacts
    • Communication types available for your system
  • See Have a Plan for tips on making a communications plan to fit your needs.

Develop communications materials for customers and share your messages

General education and awareness about contaminants of emerging concern

Example: Personal care products

  • MDH information sheet with contaminant information
  • Bill stuffer, newsletter, or other mailing

Communicating information about a detection of a contaminant that affects a small segment of the population

  • Consult with Drinking Water Protection staff at MDH
  • Provide actions that people can take to prevent or lower exposure if possible

Examples include:

  • Manganese contaminant information for bottle-fed infants and infants that drink water
  • PFAS contaminant information for pregnant women (fetuses) and bottle-fed infants
  • TCE contaminant information for pregnant women (fetuses) and young children
  • News releases
  • Participate in or present at meetings and events (e.g. city council meetings, community events, home shows, business expos)

Communicating information about one-time monitoring efforts

    Consult with Drinking Water Protection staff at MDH

    Example: Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule

  • Local newspaper
  • Consumer Confidence Report
  • Bill stuffer, newsletter, or other mailing
  • Link to MDH, US EPA websites
  • Add FAQ to your website
  • Post on social media: Facebook (most used), Twitter
    • Good for quick things, time-sensitive notices, engagement (questions/comments)

Communicating information about a detection of an unregulated contaminant 

Consult with Drinking Water Protection staff at MDH to understand what actions - if any - need to be taken.

Minnesota’s public water systems are not required to meet health-based guidance values. Public water systems can use health-based guidance as benchmarks or indicators of potential concern. Some public water suppliers may strive to meet health-based guidance for contaminants for which it is possible and cost effective.

  • Local newspaper
  • Consumer Confidence Report
  • Bill stuffer, newsletter, or other mailing
  • Link to MDH, US EPA websites
  • Add FAQ to your website
  • Post on social media: Facebook (most used), Twitter
    • Good for quick things, time-sensitive notices, engagement (questions/comments)
Updated Thursday, 29-Aug-2019 15:19:49 CDT