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County Renews its Commitment to Sustainability

Douglas County has been recertified at the Bronze level.

Douglas County was recently one of seven local governments to be recognized by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) for leadership in implementing policies and practices that contribute to efficient and sustainable use of resources in metro Atlanta.

The county was honored as a Bronze Certified Green Community at ARC’s January Board meeting, which was followed by a reception where jurisdiction representatives and ARC Board members discussed the progressive initiatives undertaken to receive certification. ARC recognized Douglas, along with Cobb and DeKalb counties and four cities – the City of Atlanta, Dunwoody, Roswell and Suwanee, which either renewed or upgraded  certification in ARC’s four-year-old Green Communities program.

Commenting on Wednesday’s presentation, ARC Chairman Kerry Armstrong said, “The seven local governments the Atlanta Regional Commission recognized today are working hard to use resources wisely and well, and I commend them for their achievements. Their efforts are contributing to cleaner air, reduced water demand, less waste going into landfills and more. As a result, we have a cleaner, greener region."

Another pioneer Green Community, Douglas County, has also recertified at the Bronze level. The rainwater captured in the retention pond at Boundary Waters Parks is used to water ball fields. A building at the park was designed with two 20,000 gallon tanks on-site for the storage of rainwater that can be used to flush toilets and for irrigation. The county has adopted a community transportation plan that includes bicycle and pedestrian friendly policies. The county has built an initial segment of the Chattahoochee Hill Country Regional Greenway Trail at Boundary Waters Park. Google and the Douglasville – Douglas County Water and Sewer Authority (WSA) teamed up to implement a joint public/private water reuse project designed to conserve water. The water reuse project is Google’s first reuse water system in the U.S. and the first of its kind in Georgia. The project supplies make-up water for the cooling towers at Google's Douglas County data center. WSA diverts up to 30 percent of effluent water from a nearby wastewater treatment plant to a second plant, which treats and supplies Google’s cooling tower make-up water. Google's utilization of reuse water allows WSA to not only increase the community's drinking water supply and treatment capacity to meet the area's true potable water needs, but also reduces the need to expand WSA’s existing water supply system to meet the additional peak summer demands that would exist if the data center was using potable water for its cooling towers.

ARC developed the Green Communities Program to foster greater environmental stewardship and to recognize local governments that invest in programs leading to a more sustainable region. The nationally recognized program showcases the ways in which local governments are helping to transform the region by reducing their environmental footprint. Since 2009, 18 jurisdictions in the 10-county region have been certified. Cities and counties earn Green Communities certification by implementing practices and policies in 10 categories, ranging from energy efficiency and green building to transportation and water efficiency. ARC’s Green Communities program was the first program in the country seeking to transform a region by promoting sustainability through a “green” certification program for local governments.

Complete information about ARC’s Green Communities Certification Program, including the measures each community has implemented, is available on the agency’s website at www.atlantaregional.com/greencommunities

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