Award-Winning Utility: The Pipes Hate Wipes Campaign

After discovering that 40% of Charlotte’s sanitary sewer overflows were being caused by debris including wipes, we knew something needed to be done. That’s when the idea for the campaign was born.

Earlier this year, the “Pipes Hate Wipes” campaign was created in an effort to make our growing community aware of a serious issue that is not always fun to talk about, but really needed to be addressed. After seeing that the majority cause of sanitary sewer spills shifted from grease to debris that largely included wipes, Charlotte Water felt that an educational campaign was needed before the issue continued to “build up”.

Following months of planning, we partnered with a local production company to produce seven commercials in well-known areas all around the Queen City – including the airport, Belk Theatre, a Hornets game, and the French Quarter in uptown, just to name a few. The inspired idea behind the commercials, was to have the pipe and wipe get into arguments, and even “break up” with each other, out in public for everyone to see.

After a successful launch, the campaign reached thousands across the region through media recognition from local news stations, social media influencers, and billboards.

Following all of the success came the recognition – the campaign won a total of three awards throughout 2019!

Overall, 10% of the Mecklenburg County population was reached through the campaign, and based on their response, it was clear that residents were shocked to see the damage that these wipes were causing. They really had no clue that these so-called “flushable” wipes are not so kind to our pipes.

As for the future of the campaign, we are focusing on targeting areas with a high number of spills, and continuing to advertise the campaign and the “Flow Free” message. As always, we are continuing to monitor the number of spills, and the impact that our message is having on those numbers. Help us spread the word – pipes hate wipes!

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