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'Flushing Awesome' or money down the toilet?

There's plenty of criticism swirling around King County's new campaign aimed at getting people to stop flushing so much stuff down the toilet.

The King County Wastewater Treatment Division launched its "Flushing Awesome" campaign several weeks ago.

The campaign features a website and several videos, including a take off of Macklemore's "Thrift Shop."

"Tampons or maxipads, in toilets they are bad, condoms or any grease, put them in the garbage please," sings the star of the "Flushing Awesome" video.

The Wastewater Treatment Division says it spent over $120,000 last year just to take the wipes, tampons and other trash that came into treatment plants to a landfill.

The director of the division, Pam Elardo, tells The Seattle Times the campaign cost $123,000 - about $3,000 less than the cost of transporting all that improperly flushed trash.

But Elardo calls it just "the tip of the iceberg," with equipment, labor and energy adding to the high price of dealing with improper flushing.

But a number of people are questioning the cost and value of the campaign, as well the accounting behind it.

KIRO Radio's Dori Monson first questioned the value of the campaign when it launched earlier this month. After the Washington Policy Center's Todd Myers tried, but was rebuffed in trying, to get clarification from the county about the true cost, Dori raised new questions about the campaign Tuesday.

"It's impossible to get a straight answer from any government agency these days," Dori laments.

Despite Myers' repeated questioning via Twitter, the division refused to confirm the actual campaign cost, instead telling Myers the cost of the campaign is "$7k less tipping fees in a year." Myers asked several times for an actual number, but never got it.

"It's a nonsensical response. This is the way government is around here. Nobody will give straight answers. Everybody is evasive. Those who are not evasive are just flat out lying," Dori says.

So is it worth it? Dori and Myers say there's no way to truly measure the value if the county won't give a true accounting of the costs.

Josh Kerns, MyNorthwest.com
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for MyNorthwest.com.
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