Press release: Facebook presentation at ORWA

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NWWSD’s Director of GIS and IT presents at Ohio Rural Water Association’s Annual Manager’s Conference & Exposition

Northwestern Water & Sewer District’s Director of GIS and IT Gavin Smith, along with a co-author, Gary Golden of Muskingum University in New Concord, Ohio, recently presented a seminal paper on how Facebook was employed by NWWSD during the August 2015 algae bloom incident.  The presentation took place at an Annual State Conference for the Ohio Rural Water Association in Athens, Ohio in May 2015.

The comprehensive paper, co-written by President Jerry Greiner of NWWSD, Gavin Smith, and Gary Golden was well received by the audience as the information showed how Facebook played a positive role in both collecting and disseminating vital information during a water crisis.

According to Greiner “In August 2015 during this incident my staff was incredible and diligent as they helped keep customers and the general public updated in real time.”  Notably, as the paper shows, says Greiner “Early on Sunday morning during the crisis was a long thread of information shared among our staff and many regional residents, where we could pinpoint who was under an alert and who was not.” 

Gavin Smith says “The power of Facebook was evident during the crisis as we could answer direct questions, send folks to our website that had a continually updated map of affected regions, and best of all, many of those who follow NWWSD on Facebook shared information with family/friends, who in turn shared information, etc. creating 1000’s of shares of information to people not even originally linked to our Facebook page. 

The presentation was attended by dozens of water and wastewater professionals from Ohio.  The paper will soon be published, where the information can be shared with utility managers around the country.