The Importance of Community Engagement & Public Outreach Regarding Water Quality Issues

Our team is working with communities across Massachusetts to educate consumers about their source water, the impacts that everyday activities can have on the quality of their drinking water, and to share facts about the critical infrastructure in their communities so that they can make decisions for the health and welfare of their families.

The flow of information through a community is much like the flow of water through the environment. At the source, both information and water are pure, and as it travels on its route through the environment or to various recipients along the way, particles are added and the source material becomes tainted, which is why treatment is necessary to both water and public information.

When information is provided to ensure the health and the welfare of a community, it is critical that the details provided are in their purest form to allow constituents the opportunity to make decisions based on the facts. In today’s hyper-social environment, it takes mere seconds for tainted information to become true in the eyes of society. Social media is a place where opinions become fact and where emotions overrule common sense. While it is important to share information, it is equally important to dispel myths, remove opinions from the facts.

Although many individuals understand the materials that are shared and how public drinking water is sourced, treated, and distributed, many do not. Throughout the day-to-day, our team has received some interesting questions from consumers about the drinking water in their respective communities. In our profession, we’ve discussed everything from water main break advisories to the repercussions of Betta fish consuming water with a level of PFAS6 above 20 ng/L…

What we have found is that there is a great need to educate consumers about where their water comes from, how to protect source water, and the necessity to perform infrastructure work so that communities thrive.

Water quality issues have garnered a great deal of public attention—and instilled some alarm within communities, who are in some cases only learning about their exposure now... Regulatory decisions for addressing PFAS in drinking water, groundwater, and soil should be based on a transparent process, the best available science and reasonable risk assessments, public participation and debate – and that’s where we come in. Capital Strategic Solutions will collaborate with your team to develop a core of PFAS risk communication resources for your community. The material we create will help you easily collaborate and disseminate audience-appropriate information on chemicals of emerging concern.

A water quality hotline can be a critical part of any effective public education campaign. Do you face challenges with staffing? We are here to help you develop and operate that hotline! Our team doesn’t just “take messages” – we have the experience needed to address and mitigate your water customers’ concerns.

Here are a few interesting questions that we’ve received from consumers about the drinking water in their community:

Question: “Hi, I received the notice about the PFAS in the water. Ever since then I’ve noticed a strange taste in the water. Can you add more chlorine to kill the PFAS and remove the yucky taste?”

Answer: “Thank you for your call. Unfortunately, we cannot add more chlorine to kill PFAS, as PFAS is a series of chemical compounds in the water. These chemicals often have no smell or taste. I will contact the Water Department to notify them of the strange taste in the water, please provide me with your address and telephone number and I will get back to you.”


Question: “Can you tell me where my water comes from? I live on and I wanted to know if they can just redirect the water so I get the good stuff, not the contaminated water.”

Answer: “Unfortunately we cannot redirect the water. Regardless of where you live in town, the Town’s water has exceeded the maximum contamination level of 20 ppt for PFAS.”


Question: “They are replacing the pipe on my street, the one that carries the water and the sewer. Is this going to remove the discoloration? I told my neighbors that once they finish this work, we won’t have brown water anymore because we’d have two pipes now.”

Answer: “The water distribution system and the sewer distribution system are two separate systems. You have two pipes connected to your property, not one, one for water and one for your wastewater.”


We understand that varying degrees of resources and dedicated public information staff can make it difficult to engage with consumers and target audiences, so we are here to assist in your efforts to communicate about the value and importance of water quality.

Risk Communications & Public Engagement Plans

  • Website Development and Content Management

  • Operation of Water Quality Hotlines

  • Grant Writing & Management

  • Creating Community Presentations, Videos, Fact Sheets & Newsletters

  • Providing Time-Sensitive Updates through Email Blasts

  • Media Relations

  • Social Media Management

Successfully communicate with the public you serve, protect your agency and keep public trust. Find your support community today. Contact us at or call 508-690-0046.

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