RK&K is assisting Gwinnett County, GA as a Sustainability Subject Matter expert for the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Eastern Regional Infrastructure project. The infrastructure includes constructing new water distribution mains, a new gravity sewer interceptor along the Apalachee River, a new regional pump station, and a force main connecting the new pump station to an existing regional pump station. Trails and recreational facilities are also part of the project to expand Gwinnett County’s extensive trail network.
With a desire to be a leader in infrastructure practices, our team worked with the County to develop and incorporate RFP language related specifically to sustainability. The chosen language placed an emphasis on earning Envision and SITES certifications by requiring experience in both systems to ensure the design-build team could deliver the requested third-party verification for the project. This language is anticipated to be used as an example for future Gwinnett County DWR projects.
After selecting the design-build team, the County continued working with RK&K as a Subject Matter Expert through the sustainable rating system process. We have served as an extension of the Gwinnett County staff and reviewed documentation for the submissions, assessed whether the cost-benefit was advantageous in pursuing additional credits, and verified that suggestions for credits were applicable to the project. This aids in ensuring the County that the ultimate deliverable of the project includes sustainable practices that will achieve maximum sustainability while being mindful of overall project costs.
Key sustainable aspects of the Eastern Regional Infrastructure project include the following:
- Sustainable Construction – Involving the contractor at the onset of the project to develop guidelines for sustainability in construction practices, material selection, and resource allocation
- User Friendly Recreational Facilities – Implementing the SITES rating system on the trail heads provides an approach toward ensuring that the end user’s needs and experience is at the forefront
- Stakeholder Engagement – Close interaction with multiple groups within Gwinnett County, as well as adjacent property owners and others impacted by the project, to ensure they are well informed and the project meets their needs
- Mindful Design – Creating a design that embraces the surrounding nature of the site by minimizing tree loss, impacts to existing water features, and incorporating existing views as feature points of the project