Building public confidence in constructed wetlands for wastewater treatment and reuse
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As population growth and climate change exacerbate water scarcity in many parts of the world, constructed wetlands have been proposed as a cost-effective wastewater treatment, storage, and reuse solution for small communities. Since public resistance remains a major barrier to potable water reuse in particular, this thesis attempts to identify strategies to build public confidence in the process of evaluating constructed wetlands’ potential for wastewater treatment and reuse. For this work, a pilot project currently undertaken in Sewanee, Tennessee serves as a case study. Following introductory remarks, chapter 2 reviews the scientific literature on public perceptions of water reuse. Chapter 3 investigates through surveys and focus groups how to effectively communicate the pilot project to Sewanee residents. A strategic community engagement campaign is developed in chapter 4. Finally, chapter 5 proposes evaluation guidelines and tools to increase campaign effectiveness and efficiency, and to determine campaign success.