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County's stormwater division wins 2 awards after dealing with flood

LAWRENCEVILLE — Last year, Gwinnett’s stormwater division faced its greatest test of its short tenure.

But the division of water resources slated to handle the natural landscape when it rains has been praised for its accomplishments in the past year, which saw a historic flood.

Commissioners recognized staffers this week for earning the Stormwater Program of the Year Award from the Georgia Association of Water Professionals. The division also won an award for excellence in floodplain management from the Georgia Association of Floodplain Management Program.

“I am pleased that our stormwater program is a leader in the state,” Chairman Charles Bannister said. “Our staff has done a great job maintaining our stormwater infrastructure and protecting our streams, and I encourage our residents to do their part as well to protect our streams from pollutants.”

Gwinnett’s stormwater program, which includes work maintaining the county’s dams, is funded by the stormwater utility fees assessed based on the square footage of impervious surface a parcel contains. Such surfaces prohibit rain water infiltration and the increased runoff carries pollutants into the streams.

“Water Resources is committed to being a leader in stormwater management by implementing a comprehensive program that includes public education, infrastructure inventory and maintenance and 100-year floodplain delineation and control,” said Lynn Smarr, acting water resources department director. “We are working hard to get all of our streams in compliance with the state’s water quality standards.”