In an effort to educate its customers about a widespread and costly issue lurking beneath city streets, Florida utility company JEA created a mock horror movie trailer warning customers that “what goes down, might just come back up.”
The Invasion of the Fatbergs campaign, developed by community-owned JEA and advertising/public relations agency St. John & Partners, puts a quirky spin on a gross topic to inform customers of what should not be flushed down the drain.
A “fatberg” is a large accumulation of waste in a sewage system consisting of congealed greases and cooking fats, and personal hygiene products. These improperly disposed of items create large masses that ultimately clog sewers. Fatbergs not only cause sewer blockages and flooding, but these blockages are time consuming and costly to treat.
“The goal of the Fatberg Invasion campaign is to ultimately save our customers money by talking about a dirty subject people often want to avoid and encouraging everyone to think before they flush,” said Deryle Calhoun, Jr., P.E., VP, General Manager Water/Wastewater Systems for JEA.
A litany of the non-biodegradable items that JEA has found in the Jacksonville pipes appears at the end of the Fatberg trailer. These items include anything from baby wipes and feminine hygiene products to action figures and creepy doll heads. Removing fatbergs and repairing damage to sewer pipes can cost JEA more than $800,000 a year, an expense that impacts everyone’s utility bill. Customers don’t realize how much more they’re really paying for those hygiene products and wipes, so JEA wants to ensure customers are no longer flushing their money down the toilet – figuratively and literally.
JEA is the largest municipal utility provider in Florida, providing electric, water and sewer service to residents and businesses in Northeast Florida.