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    City’s Environmental Services Department is recipient of 2015 Award of Excellence from Central Michigan chapter of Public Relations Society of America


    The Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department’s innovative embrace of social media to promote awareness of its “No Wipes in the Pipes” campaign has captured a 2015 Award of Excellence by the Central Michigan Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

    Held annually, the PRSA PACE Awards are mid-Michigan’s highest honor of public relations activities and award public relations practitioners who, in the judgment of national peers, have successfully addressed a contemporary issue with exemplary professional skill, creativity and resourcefulness. Judges rate submissions based on quality of research, planning, execution and evaluation.

     “We are proud that national experts in the public relations and marketing industry recognize Grand Rapids’ communication services as among the best in Michigan,” said Environmental Services Department Manager Mike Lunn. “We pledge to engage citizens and keep them informed to ensure they continue to receive high-quality service.”

    The city’s Environmental Services Department teamed with Lansing-based Güd Marketing to develop and implement a low cost, high-impact plan that would address an increasingly serious challenge: the rise of sewage backups caused by residents flushing disposable wipes and other nondisposable items that plug sewer pipes and pumps. 
    Convenience wipes such as sanitary baby napkins, hygienic tissues, cleaning and disinfectant liquids, as well as toilet bowl scrubbers and even paper towels, are often labeled as "disposable” or “flushable." But these products should not go down drains because they do not degrade in the sewer system. As a result, Grand Rapids sewer workers pull rags and disposable wipes out of pumps and valves at the wastewater systems’ lift stations an average of two or three times per week, expending taxpayer resources on a preventable problem.
    Grand Rapids launched a new “No Wipes in the Pipes” social media campaign that featured Facebook ads and other tactics. The city’s ads directly reached 26 percent of Grand Rapids residents an average of three times throughout the campaign; grew organic reach from 36 people to more than 150 people on average; and sent more than 2,500 clicks to the No Wipes web page, an approximately 2,100 percent surge compared with 115 page views January-November 2014.

    Güd Marketing is a certified woman-owned small business located in Lansing’s Old Town District. Founded in 1978, Güd Marketing is a full-service firm that provides strategic planning, research, branding, advertising and public relations services.

    A full list of the winners is available on the CMPRSA PACE Awards website, www.cmprsapaceawards.com.