“SWIFTLY” Speaking: Effectively Communicating a New Initiative to Many Stakeholders

Last Modified: Aug 10, 2018


  • Dwayne Amos - Hazen and Sawyer
  • Leila Rice, Ted Henifin - HRSD

HRSD’s newest endeavor, the Sustainable Water Initiative for Tomorrow (SWIFT) is an innovative water purification project that will take highly treated water, normally discharged into the Elizabeth, James or York rivers, and further purify it through additional rounds of advanced treatment to meet drinking water standards. This purified water will then be added to the Potomac aquifer, eastern Virginia’s primary groundwater source. The benefits of SWIFT include:

  • Significantly reducing the amount of nutrients discharged into the Chesapeake Bay
  • Replenishing dwindling groundwater supply
  • Combatting sea level rise by reducing the rate of land subsidence
  • Protecting groundwater from saltwater intrusion
  • HRSD scientists and engineers tested two proven drinking water treatment processes in the SWIFT pilot project at HRSD’s York River Plant to determine the most efficient and effective technology for HRSD’s existing wastewater treatment process. The results of this pilot project were used to select the technology for implementation at the SWIFT Research Center at HRSD’s Nansemond Plant in Suffolk. This facility will purify one million gallons of water per day and then treat it to match the existing groundwater. HRSD will then test its ability to pump this water into the Potomac Aquifer, where groundwater replenishment will be extensively monitored for one year. The findings will be used to support advancement of SWIFT at multiple HRSD facilities.

    How do you begin to engage and educate the various stakeholders – including employees and other internal audiences – communicating such a scientifically complex initiative? HRSD’s Communication Department and SWIFT design partners will share the communications strategies utilized beginning with the program concept, through design and construction. The presentation will discuss the tactics, infographic and web tools, 3-D visualizations, virtual reality and interpretive elements used to effectively communicate the SWIFT initiative and its regional benefits in order to gain critical acceptance and understanding of the initiative.

    For more information, please contact the author at damos@hazenandsawyer.com.

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