Mall of Georgia to conserve with 'reuse' water

LAWRENCEVILLE - Gwinnett County's Water Resources Department placed the Mall of Georgia's landscaping on its growing list of water reusers Friday.

With an announcement this week by the state's climatologist saying the drought was extreme in the northeast part of the state, the news couldn't have come at a more opportune time.

"It just makes sense to conserve water and promote sustainability," said County Reuse Manager Irish Horsey. "Especially with the drought conditions in Georgia."

Horsey said the county expects to distribute 300 million gallons of reuse water this year through piping and its trucking program.

Not to be confused with drinking water, reuse water is used for irrigation and cooling at many places across the county already. Though not potable, reuse water poses no health risks to people because it goes through a thorough treatment process prior to use at the F. Wayne Hill Water Resources Center. Treated water that is not reused ends up in the Chattahoochee River. By irrigating with reuse water, the demand on drinking water is significantly reduced, aiding the state's effort to conserve as much water as possible during the ongoing drought.

This fact appears to be the reason why the Mall of Georgia jumped on the reuse-water train.

"This project brings positive results to the community, ensures water conservation in the area and complements our other efforts like cardboard recycling and energy savings," said Mall of Georgia General Manager Joe Piccolo in a statement. He also said the mall was thrilled to be working with Gwinnett's Water Resources Department.

Getting other developments around the county and near the mall to also use reuse water is what the department is focusing on now. Next up on the list - Gwinnett's soon-to-be-relocating Braves.

According to the department, the new Gwinnett Braves stadium will employ reuse water for irrigating the field and the surrounding landscaping.

"Reuse is a program we're definitely trying to expand and we encourage others to check the county Web site and give us a call if interested," said the department's Lynn Smarr.

Horsey added, "It ensures drinking water for future generations and is a way of life in other countries."