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SANDY SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL PASSES WATER CONSERVATION INCENTIVE PROGRAM

10 June 2009 No Comment

The City of Sandy Springs City Council unanimously voted to pass a new water conservation permit incentive program. The goal of the program is to value all water on a building site. Site planning and design should be based on the understanding that water is a valuable natural resource that should be used conservatively, cleaned and reused on-site.

“I am very pleased that the City of Sandy Springs is a leader in water conservation by providing incentives to builders when they incorporate water saving plumbing in construction,” said Mayor Eva Galambos. “This goes way beyond low flow toilets—it is truly a way to address water shortages that must be avoided if the Atlanta area is to continue to grow.”
For residential construction, a “turtle system” has been adopted.

A Bronze Conservation Turtle will be awarded for applying the following items.

1.    Replace or install all fixtures with low-flow plumbing fixtures: 1.3 gpf or less water closets, 1.5 gpm lavatory faucets & 2.0 gpm showerheads.
2.    Replace or install landscaping with Xeriscape applications as described in the State of Georgia Water Conservation Implementation Plan.

A Silver Conservation Turtle and a 30% Fee Rebate will be awarded for applying the following items.

1.    Meet Bronze Turtle incentives.
2.    Choose 3 option(s) from Strategies 2-4 that are appropriate to the project. The Site Water Conservation Strategies are listed below under Land Disturbance Permit and Commercial Site Incentives.

A Gold Conservation Turtle and a 50% Fee Rebate will be awarded for applying the following items.

1.    Meet all Silver Turtle incentives.

2.    Choose 3 additional options (for a total of 6) from Strategies 2-4 that are appropriate to the project. The Site Water Conservation Strategies are listed below under Land Disturbance Permit and Commercial Site Incentives.
3.     Install an interior gray water system.

A Platinum Conservation Turtle and a 100% Fee Rebate will be awarded for applying all of the items listed in the Bronze, Silver, and Gold lists.

For land disturbance permit fees and building permit fees, the City asks builders to follow basic water conservation guidelines such as mulching planting beds to minimize evaporation and maximize water retention, maintaining a three inch minimum mulch layer to the drip-line of trees and shrubs and group plants with similar water needs together to maximize irrigation efficiency. Companies are also awarded Conservation Turtles based on the following:

Strategy 1 – Water Conservation Planning Techniques
A Bronze Sandy Springs Conservation Turtle will be awarded for combined use of all of following items:

1.    Maintain large areas of existing vegetation which provide shade and evapotranspiration to cool buildings. Protect vegetation canopy and forest leaf litter. Install multilayered planting schemes that replicate natural sites with both canopy and vegetative ground cover. Large areas must be 10% greater than code.
2.    Limit turf areas. Where turf is desired, select drought-tolerant, low-nutrient lawn species that will reduce maintenance incentives.
3.    Utilize water-efficient irrigation systems that use drip or subsurface delivery methods, tailor irrigation to weather conditions, and measure soil moisture.

Strategy 2 – Design grading and plan layout to capture and slow runoff.
A 30% Fee Rebate will be issued and the Silver Sandy Springs Conservation Turtle awarded for meeting the Bronze Turtle level plus any three of the following:

1.    Use landscape-based water treatment methods such as dry wells, vegetated swales instead of curb and gutter systems, raised inlet rims, vegetated filter strips, and infiltration facilities.
2.    Install a rain garden or small vegetated catchment areas which filter rainwater and increase groundwater recharge by capturing excess water. Individual infiltration ponds on residential lots must be approved by the Engineering Department.
3.    Use pervious surfaces that allow water to infiltrate soil.
4.    Protect soils from compaction during site construction by restricting machinery to designated zones. Restore infiltration capacity and reduce compaction of soils by breaking up compaction, adding organic matter, and planting vegetation.
5.    Raise stormwater inlets in planting areas to allow water to soak into the soil.

Strategy 3 – Eliminate Potable Water Use In The Landscape.
A 50% Fee Rebate will be issued and the Gold Sandy Springs Conservation Turtle will be awarded for meeting Bronze and Silver Turtle levels and two of the following.

1.    Collect and filter grey water (stormwater) for on-site non-potable water needs such as irrigation, cleaning outdoor surfaces and water features.
2.    Collect and filter water from building roofs and use cisterns or rain barrels to store harvested rainwater.
3.    Collect and filter condensation water from air conditioning systems.

Strategy 4 – Maximize Water Conservation Practices
A 100% Fee Rebate will be issued and the Platinum Sandy Springs Conservation Turtle will be awarded for applying all of the conservation practices listed in Strategies 1-3.

For residential construction, all fee rebates will be based on the cost of the “Building Permit Fee.  For LDPs and commercial construction, the following fees are not included when calculating the rebate for this Incentive Program: Administrative, Site Review, Commercial Plan Review, Certificate of Occupancy, Enforcement and Impact Fees.

For more information on water conservation or the City of Sandy Springs, visit www.sandyspringsga.org or call 770-730-5600 and ask for David Schmid.

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