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Hinesville joins pro-water effort
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The city council is preparing for a green future as members take on new engineering measures to make Hinesville a part of the WaterFirst Community Program.
While applying for the program through the Department of Community Affairs , a Georgian city must go above and beyond the legal requirements to preserve water resources, program coordinator Deatre Denion said.
The pro-water actions the council has established are zoning in the downtown redevelopment district, implementing principles and setting new guidelines like banning any additional septic tanks in the city and reducing sprawling impervious surfaces, which prevent groundwater absorption, she said.  
Since Fort Stewart recently reached its capacity for wastewater treatment for the area, Hinesville had to build its own multi-million dollar wastewater plant, which goes online July 1.
“What the city still needs to work on though are educational and outreach programs to inform and motivate the community on how they can fulfill their part in this conservation process,” Denion said.
“The construction of the new plant and the initiatives Hinesville has set in motion make it a likely contender in becoming a WaterFirst city this October,” Denion said. “A review board composed of water professionals from differing agencies will presumably make the recommendation to the DCA.”
When Hinesville is initiated, certain DCA funding grants become more accessible and the city can collectively save $1 million over an extended period of time through a GEFA revolving loan, city Grants Coordinator Clarenda Stanley said.
With water shortages in Georgia, a short-term moratorium was put in place for 24 counties, and since the moratorium has been raised a city must show extreme water conservation efficiency to be able to increase its groundwater consumption.
By joining the program, the likelihood of the state permitting Hinesville to elevate groundwater use is greatly increased, Denion said.
“We are going to save our city a lot of money, while conserving and properly using our natural resources,” Assistant City Manager Kenny Howard said. “This will benefit everyone involved, and what we need to do now is work on the education and outreach to our community in the upcoming months.”
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