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Goodbye D.C. WASA; hello 'D.C. Water'

"D.C. Water" unveiling

What had become a tarnished brand is no more: The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority is now simply "D.C. Water," with a minimalist logo to match the minimalist moniker.

The water utility has been the object of public enmity since 2004, when D.C. WASA played the starring role in the Great D.C. Lead Crisis. A change in water chemistry made by the federal Washington Aqueduct caused lead to leach out of century-old service lines, and a secretive attitude and ham-fisted public relations eroded confidence in the utility.

"D.C. Water and Sewer Authority" will remain its corporate moniker, but its public face will involve a green-and-blue "dc" paired with a stylized waterdrop and the agency's new slogan: "water is life." All lowercase, natch.

The image retooling comes less than a year into the tenure of General Manager George S. Hawkins, former top environmental aide to Mayor Adrian Fenty. He has thus far been credited by board members and the utility's employee union with shaking up the hidebound agency.

Hawkins launched a public contest in February to come up with a new identity for the agency. Three entrants, including a D.C. Water employee, shared the $2,000 prize for coming up with parts of the new name, logo, and slogan.

"We want to connect with the public," Hawkins said after an unveiling ceremony Tuesday morning attended by Fenty and hundreds of employees. "This is a new era."

Hawkins says the rebranding -- which involves dozens of exterior signs, a fleet of hundreds of vehicles and the uniforms of scores of employees -- should be complete within six months. The cost is estimated at $160,000.

The lead crisis isn't totally behind the agency, however. This afternoon, Hawkins is set to appear at a House subcommittee hearing on the lead response.

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 15, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories:  The District  
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Comments

Wow . . . what a meaningful response to the agency's failures. A new logo should keep the lead out of my water!

Posted by: pryan1 | June 15, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

$160,000 for "rebranding"??

Why aren't they using that money to replace century old pipe?

Who cares what their stupid logo it? I'd rather them worry "is our water poisonous?" than "is our logo sleek in all lowercase letters?"

It's disgusting.

Posted by: mikecapitolhill | June 15, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Why not call it: DC Chlorine and Turds-Floating-in-Rock-Creek Department?

Posted by: axolotl | June 15, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

If I call a pig a dog is it a dog? Is changing the name of WASA going to make the water any better?

Posted by: Jimof1913 | June 15, 2010 5:45 PM | Report abuse

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