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Water Report Worth Reading...and Keeping?

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Bryan's Water Quality Report for 2003, required to be sent to all citizens, was less-than-spectacular.

"[It] was not an attractive report," said city public information officer Jay Socol. "It was Plain Jane. It was probably created in a template by water services."

And there's a pretty good chance very few people read it. So Kelly Wellman and her environmental services staff had a brainstorming session.

"We really challenged the staff to come up with a creative way to get their attention," said Wellman, the director of Environmental Services. And the staff came back and said, 'What about a calendar?'"

"I think they were joking," Socol said, "and when we came back to them and said we could do it, but we have to do it the right way, trust us, that's when the brainstorming took place and we decided to do something fun.

"I think when people see a publication where water services guys are synchronized swimming, they're going to be intrigued enough to want to open the thing up and see what's inside," he said.

And indeed, the new publication is a far cry from past reports. Each month features different water services employees (save for Mayor Ernie Wentrcek, July's man of the month), along with facts about water services both locally and around the world.

But the calendar format and the poster boys are the big difference.

"The opportunity to participate and really kind of brag about themselves, as well as teach about the department, was a really big motivator for them," Wellman said.

"They got on board, and they got on board in a big way," said Socol. "The employees who volunteered for the photos got so excited about it."

Employees like Regulatory Compliance Supervisor Robert Werley. "Every city with a population of 3,000 or above has to do a CCR of some kind," he said. "I haven't seen anything like this. I thought it was a pretty good idea."

"We get to communicate with the citizens, build on that relationship," Wellman said, "but we also get to share more information about our system that doesn't have to be included in there in a confidence report. And then we get to showcase our employees, and the folks that are out there actually doing the job."

Informational and fun. An amazing concept for a simple city water report.

As for the contents, the city met all minimum requirements for water quality for 2004. College Station's report came out last week and also showed 100 percent compliance with federal regulations.