Bay Area Clean Water Agencies

Wastewater Public Education and Outreach Initiative

Strategic Communications to Raise Awareness


The Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA) is a joint powers agency, formed by the five largest wastewater treatment agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area. BACWA members include the over 40 municipalities and special districts that provide the essential service of cleaning and treating wastewater for more than 7.1 million people before it is released into the San Francisco Bay. In 2023, the Civic Edge team began working with BACWA to support communications and media relations efforts.


Though foundational to the modern city we know today, the crucial role clean water agencies play is relatively unknown to the general public. Our team devised a strategic communications plan to proactively build public awareness about clean water management in the Bay Area and how local agencies protect the environment, create a unified voice for BACWA to share regional messaging to media and through member agencies, and engage community members throughout the Bay Area by identifying and amplifying calls to action.

From Unknown Infrastructure to Media Darling

Earned media is part of any successful strategy to raise public awareness, and a key part of our communications work with BACWA. In spring 2024, our team planned and executed two media tours at different wastewater treatment plants to showcase clean water infrastructure and the innovative technologies being used to reduce nutrients including multi-benefit projects like ecotone levees and recycled water systems. Through high-touch outreach and an enticing call to action, we were able to recruit reporters to experience the infrastructure in person and interface with agency employees. This led to multiple media stories amplifying the important work of these agencies who are on the front lines of public health and environmental stewardship.

By the Numbers 

  • 1 communications strategy document
  • 2 unique media tours
  • 15+ attendees
  • 10+ media hits

Project Expertise 

  • Strategic Messaging
  • Media Events
  • Media monitoring
  • Infographics