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City water purification company's door-to-door marketing confusing Green Bay water customers - Green Bay Press Gazette (posted August 16, 2018)
GREEN BAY, Wis. (USA TODAY) - A water purification marketing plan is causing confusion and raising questions across the city.
Elemental Core Outreach, a water treatment sales company, is making its way through Green Bay, leaving fliers and water test kits at homes that ask residents to provide some personal and other information and fill an accompanying water bottle with tap water to be picked up for testing the following day.
That's led to a number of calls to the Green Bay Water Utility, which prompted it to issue an advisory that the company is not affiliated with the city water service.
Andrea Hay, spokeswoman for the utility, said calls began arriving Wednesday afternoon from concerned customers asking about Appleton-based Elemental Core Outreach's "clean water campaign."
The company uses the information to arrange in-home water testing demonstrations for those who agree to the service.
Justin Draeger, owner of Elemental Core Outreach, acknowledged there's "nothing wrong" with Green Bay's water. He said his business focuses primarily on educating consumers about things like water hardness, total dissolved solids and chlorine, and how additional water treatment systems can be helpful in ridding dishes of water spots and stains or be beneficial for people with skin issues.
According to Elemental Core Outreach's website, the organization is a member of the Water Quality Association, and sells Westinghouse brand water refiners, drinking water filters and water sterilization systems.
Hay said Green Bay Water Utility encourages customers with questions about the quality of their drinking water to contact the water utility directly.
"We want our customers to know this is not our standard process — asking them for all types of (information)," Hay said. "But we do, and are happy, to talk to people about their water. Ever since Flint, people want to know more and more about their water and we are fortunate to have some of the best water in the state and that's partially because of Lake Michigan."
Kris Teske, Green Bay city clerk, said Elemental Core Outreach applied for, and received, the proper permits allowing a single person from the organization to conduct their door-to-door business.
She said the process in getting the permit required Green Bay police to conduct a background check and that the approval means law enforcement determined the operation legal.
Draeger said in recent years, his business has done similar outreach in places like Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. He added that print on the bottom of the fliers states that his business is not affiliated with the city's water utility.
Elemental Core Outreach is not listed as an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau. However, the BBB's website shows a 'B' rating for the LLC.
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