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The Issue: The City of Oak Harbor was in need of assistance to meet the NPDES Phase II Western Washington Municipal Stormwater Permit Requirement S5.C.1.c which states that : “Each Permittee shall measure the understanding and adoption of the targeted behaviors for at least one target audience in at least one subject area. No later than February 2, 2016, Permittees shall use the resulting measurements to direct education and outreach resources most effectively, as well as to evaluate changes in adoption of the targeted behaviors.”

In addition, just 2 years prior, they hired a full-time Commercial Businesses Stormwater Inspector, but had been disappointed with the progress being made by the restaurants in particular, even with monthly site inspections. Basic stormwater best management practices were not being followed to the City’s satisfaction in the outdoor areas behind the restaurants, causing unknown amounts of pollution to enter local storm drains on a daily basis.

They were interested in finding an innovative way to reach restaurant staff through education and increase the use of stormwater best management practices occurring in the spaces outside of restaurants in the City.

Wastewater Pollution Infographic

Results: Goldstreet’s Consulting Staff and the City of Oak Harbor worked collaboratively to employ Community Based Social Marketing techniques to gain a solid understanding of the target audience in order to develop a targeted, effective and well thought out plan for inspiring a change in behavior from restaurant staff to improve water quality in the Puget Sound region.

We compiled and analyzed the data and provided a detailed summary of the findings. Background research was also explored to uncover similar projects designed to reach the target audience. The data was then used to identify motivators and barriers to reaching restaurant staff, as well as set project goals and objectives and to develop a marketing strategy. As part of the marketing strategy, we also uncovered existing grant opportunities to provide free spill kits and professional training to restaurant staff in Oak Harbor.

The marketing strategy prompted the development of three different products by Goldstreet’s Creative Design Team:

  1. A multi-purpose brochure, which serves as a training tool for restaurant managers, and folds out into an eye catching, yet simple poster, targeting the restaurant staff.
  2. A big and bright dumpster sticker, reminding staff how to properly maintain the dumpster area.
  3. A training program designed specifically for the local high school culinary school which will focus on the proper outdoor BMPs to follow at any restaurant and the basics of how restaurants can have an impact on water quality.

Evaluation of the products was the final step and provided the City with astounding measurable results for permit reporting. Following distribution of the restaurant poster and dumpster sticker to restaurants in Oak Harbor, the following changes in behavior were observed:

  • The occurrence of open dumpster lids was reduced by 76%
  • The occurrence of garbage on the ground around the dumpster was reduced by 51%
  • The occurrence of uncovered cardboard outdoors was reduced by 30%
Wastewater Education Sticker