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SAWS launches new sewer awareness campaign: Pipes Don’t Lie

San Antonio Water System has been telling customers for years that what they put down their drain can cause unsightly backups, but a new campaign focuses on exposing those secrets of the sewers.

SAWS’ pithy Pipes Don’t Lie campaign is the utility’s new take on educating customers on causes of sewer backups. The theme is paralleled in a telenovela-inspired, Spanish-language version titled Lo Que Calla La Tuberia.

Campaign ads and materials feature pipe cutaway graphics exposing the culprits – packages of personal and cleaning wipes and greasy foods. Premiering through paid media, social media and the SAWS website, the campaign will continue to develop new materials, including interactive resources for kids.

“We’re always looking for novel ways to remind customers how to keep our sewer system safe. Pipes Don’t Lie had the new approach we were looking for,” said Gavino Ramos, SAWS Vice President of Communications, External Affairs & Conservation. “Fixing sewer spills are costly and disruptive – and this campaign is a way to educate our customers on how they can help prevent these spills.”

Sewer spills are caused by clogs that obstruct the flow of wastewater in pipes. Grease poured down the drain clumps together with so-called flushable wipes and other debris to cause backups in neighborhoods and sometimes even into people’s homes or businesses.

The Pipes Don’t Lie webpage (saws.org/pipes) features information on how to prevent backups and features illustrations of the gross things inspection crews have to clean out of pipes when a backup occurs.

“We want to emphasize that most backups are preventable, and we want to give our customers the information and resources they need to understand the issue and why it’s important for our sewer system,” Ramos added.

The Pipes Don’t Lie campaign was developed with local advertising agency Chamoy Creative.

For more information, visit saws.org/pipes.

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