City of Richmond Hill Designated as a WaterFirst Community by Georgia Department of Community Affairs

Staff Report From Savannah CEO

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

City of Richmond Hill officials announced that the city has been designated a WaterFirst Community by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs. The WaterFirst Community Program is a voluntary partnership that recognizes communities with a strong commitment to water resource stewardship.

“This designation is well-earned, and will bring considerable rewards and recognition to Richmond Hill,” said Camila Knowles, commissioner, Georgia Department of Community Affairs. “The WaterFirst Review Committee noted Richmond Hill has numerous impressive accomplishments, including a state-of-the-art, award-winning wastewater treatment plant, an awesome trail system and available green space, and a notable water reuse strategy.”

The WaterFirst Community program is available to those governments that have achieved excellence in water resource management in areas such as watershed assessment, stormwater master planning, wastewater treatment and management, water supply planning, water supply protection, water conservation, and water reclamation and reuse. In seeking WaterFirst designation, Richmond Hill underwent a lengthy review process with the Department of Community Affairs.

“The WaterFirst designation demonstrates to citizens of Richmond Hill that we are committed to adhering to a standard of excellence when it comes to protecting our watersheds, water supply, and water quality,” said Mayor Harold Fowler. “Water is vital to our community’s economic development and to our citizens’ health, wellness, and quality of life. This award acknowledges that commitment.”

As a WaterFirst Community, Richmond Hill will be eligible for financial assistance and other benefits from the state. These include statewide recognition for environmental stewardship; an interest rate reduction on loans made from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority’s Georgia Fund for water, wastewater, and solid waste infrastructure; eligibility for annual applications to the Community Development Block Grant fund for water-related projects; and priority for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources 319 Grant program to help prevent, control and/or abate nonpoint source pollution.