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Poster, Writing and Video Contests
for the 2013-2014 School Year

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority


Update: March 6, 2014 -- The Video Contest deadline has been extended until March 19, 2014.

It's MWRA contest time! Once again the MWRA is sponsoring Poster, Writing, and Video Contests for students who live in or attend school in a community served by the MWRA.

The topic for this year’s contest is – It’s a Toilet, Not a Wastebasket!

You may be wondering how we came up with this topic.  Little kids love to flush toys down the toilet.  People of all ages use toilets as wastebaskets, flushing down tissues, cotton balls, cotton swabs, dental floss, etc.  Kids have admitted flushing candy wrappers down the toilet so their parents don’t know what they are eating.  A growing problem today is what is often described as the “disposable” wipe.

According to an article in the Water Environment Federation’s newsletter, WEF Highlights, “perpetrators mucking up the system are known as “nondispersibles,” which currently means anything other than human waste and toilet paper that’s flushed down the toilet…” Check out the WEF "Don't Flush That" page to read the entire article and see some interesting pictures.

Not only is this causing problems with home plumbing systems but, it’s also causing problems at wastewater treatment plants.  This is a local issue, a national issue, and even an international issue.  Search “fatberg” to find out about problems in London’s sewerage system.

If you perform a web search for “problems with disposable wipes," you’ll find more than 267,000 results in a matter of seconds.

The goal of the MWRA’s Contest is to help students make the connection between their faucets and drains with their environment.  We hope the students will have fun with this topic and learn some important facts in the process.  Good luck to all participants!

Poster Contest (grades K-8)

Create a poster that advertises why you should not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Visit our Poster Contest Page for more information.

Writing Contest (grades 3-8)
Write an essay, poem, or creative piece to convince others about why they should not use their toilets as wastebaskets. Visit our Writing Contest Page for more information.
Video Contest (grades 9-12)

Create a video (3 minutes or less) advertising why you should not use your toilet as a wastebasket. Visit our Video Contest Page for more information.


Update: March 6, 2014 -- The Video Contest deadline has been extended until March 19, 2014.

Entries must be postmarked by Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Early entries are encouraged.

Rules are included in the contest entry packet (PDF).
Please Note: All Contests
Teachers and students, please remember that while this year’s topic is sewer-related, posters, essays and videos must be in good taste. Do not include graphic depictions of dirty toilets, urine, fecal matter or used personal care products.
Required Forms and Labels

Every group of student entries must have a Contest Registration Form and each entry must have a Student Label attached securely to the back of the entry. Forms and labels are included in the contest entry packet (PDF).

Students may enter on their own if they live in or attend a school in the MWRA service area. You must include the student label on the back of your entry. Labels are included in the contest entry packet (PDF).

Video contest entrants must submit a signed release form (PDF) along with their videos. The form is included in the contest entry packet (PDF).


First prize in each category is a $100.00 gift check, 2nd prize is a $50.00 check, and 3rd prize is a $25.00 check.

All winners, including honorable mention winners, are invited with their families to an Awards Ceremony at Deer Island on Friday, May 23, 2014.

How to Submit Contest Entries

All entries must be mailed to:

MWRA School Contest
2 Griffin Way
Chelsea, MA 02150

What Makes a Good Poster Entry
Make sure your poster is on topic. Don't try to include too many ideas or activities
on your poster. A single message, clearly illustrated, is more effective. If you use
lettering, make sure it can be read from across a room. For inspiration and examples, check out our poster contest winners for 2012-2013.
What Makes a Good Writing Entry
First, be sure your entry addresses the question.  As good as a piece might be, if it isn't on topic, it can't win a prize.  Then, use your creativity to make your entry stand out.  The reader should remember your work because there was something unique about it. An essay can be just as creative as a poem or dialogue, if it has a clear theme and develops it cleverly. For ideas, take a look at our writing contest winners for 2012-2013.
What Makes a Good Video Entry
A successful video will be on topic, informative, accurate and entertaining. The 2012-2013 video contest winners are posted on our YouTube page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions and answers for teachers and students are included in the contest entry packet (PDF).

How to Submit Contest Entries
All entries must be mailed to:

MWRA School Contest
2 Griffin Way
Chelsea, MA 02150

What if I still have some questions?

If you still have questions, please contact Meg Tabacsko, MWRA School Program Manager, at If you do not have access to email, please call Meg at 617-305-5646.

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Only schools located in the MWRA Service Area listed below are eligible to participate in the Annual Poster, Writing and Video Contests

Water Communities
Chicopee Peabody
Clinton Saugus
Leominster Southborough
Lynn  South Hadley
Lynnfield Swampscott
Marblehead Weston
Marlborough Wilbraham
Nahant Worcester
Sewer Communities
Ashland Lancaster
Braintree Natick
Burlington Randolph
Hingham Walpole
Holbrook Weymouth
Water and Sewer Communities
Arlington Newton
Bedford Norwood
Belmont Quincy
Boston Reading
Brookline Revere
Cambridge Somerville
Canton Stoneham
Chelsea Stoughton
Dedham Wakefield
Everett Waltham
Framingham Watertown
Lexington Wellesley
Malden Westwood
Medford Wilmington
Melrose Winchester
Milton Winthrop
Needham Woburn
Schools located on Cape Cod and within the Quabbin and Wachusett Watershed are also eligible to participate.


Meg Tabacsko

Jackie Floyd

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Updated May 9, 2014

image of contest poster
School Program Main Page
Contest Main Page
Poster Contest
Writing Contest
Video Contest
Contest Entry Packet: all rules, FAQs, forms, labels and other important details packet of info, forms and rules (PDF)

Contests are limited to schools in the MWRA service area.
Eligible communities

mwra - what not to flush image
WEF "Don't Flush That" page
New York Times: London Sewer "Fatburg"
Consumer Reports Video: "Flushable wipes are touted as an alternative to toilet paper. Are they really safe for sewers and septic systems?"
How the MWRA Sewer System Works
MWRA YouTube Page
MWRA Photos on Flickr

Need inspiration?

2012-2013 Poster Contest Winner by

Check out our contest winners for 2012-2013

| writing | video (YouTube)

MWRA Staff Contacts