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The Atlanta BeltLine

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Water Efficiency and Quality

A Watershed Moment for Conservation

The Atlanta BeltLine initiative involves a large number of dynamic new land use designs for the areas along the Atlanta BeltLine corridor. Whether it is park or green space development, a trail and transit design, or a repurposing of commercial and residential property, there are significant water issues involved in each plan. It is imperative that these plans incorporate best practices for maintaining water quality, conservation, stormwater collection, and protection of water resources.

Atlanta BeltLine Guidelines

  1. Surpass City stormwater management requirements by 10% and identify lowest lifecycle cost management solution for parks and trails
  2. Limit potable water use to human health needs (drinking water, hand washing).
  3. No potable water to be used for toilets or irrigation
  4. At least 75% of the site vegetated area must be composed of native plants, in compliance with SSI, Credit 4.7

Integrated Sustainability

The typological design of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor integrates best sustainable practices in landscape design and stormwater management to create a working landscape focused on water efficiency and quality. The Atlanta BeltLine landscape is native or native-adapted and does not require irrigation past the period of establishment. Opportunities for rainwater capture exist at key locations, such as transit stations. Water collected on-site can be used in public toilets, should those be included in the Atlanta BeltLine program in the future. The amount of paved, impervious surfaces is limited to the minimum required by the Atlanta BeltLine program, to minimize stormwater runoff.

Where allowed by corridor width, green embankments are specified for engineered slopes to allow stormwater infiltration. Biofiltration swales are recommended to collect and filter stormwater on-site, minimizing the Atlanta BeltLine’s burden on the City’s stormwater infrastructure. Limitation of impervious surfaces is also recommended for the Atlanta BeltLine Overlay District. Materials and coatings specified for the stations are non-toxic and will not leach into the ground water.

Environmental Issues Addressed

  • Irrigation-Free Landscaping
  • Reduction of Permeable Surfaces
  • Stormwater Runoff Control
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention
  • Bio-Filtration
  • Sediment Control
  • Floodplain Protection
  • Brownfields Remediation

Other Environmental Issues

  • Wetlands Protection (n/a)
  • Water-Efficiency of Fixtures (n/a)
  • Rainwater Capture
  • Greywater Recycling
  • Performance Monitoring
  • Education & Outreach

Related Metrics

The Sustainable Sites Initiative 1.2. Protect floodplain functions* 1.3. Preserve wetlands* 3.1. Reduce potable water use for landscape irrigation by 50% from established baseline* 3.2. Reduce potable water use for landscape irrigation by 75% from established baseline 3.3. Protect and restore riparian, wetland and shoreline buffers 3.4. Rehabilitate lost streams, wetlands and shorelines 3.5. Manage stormwater on site 3.6. Protect and enhance on-site water resources and receiving water quality 3.7. Design rainwater / stormwater features to provide a landscape amenity 3.8. Maintain water features to conserve water and other resources 7.1. Control and retain construction pollutants* 9.1. Monitor performance of sustainable design practices

Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND)

SLL Prereq. 3. Wetland and Water Body Conservation SLL Prereq. 5. Floodplain Avoidance SLL Credit 2. Brownfield Redevelopment SLL Credit 6. Steep Slope Protection GIB Credit 4. Water-Efficient Landscaping GIB Credit 8. Stormwater Management