The Bartow County Environmental Management System—a partnership among local government and industry leaders in the Georgia county—is a unique model for the rest of the country. Photo: Georgia Institute of Technology

Leaders of local government agencies in Bartow County, Ga., key local industries, and the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce have launched a unique unified effort aimed at reducing the countywide environmental impact of both government and industry operations.

“The Bartow County Environmental Management System (EMS) program is unique and represents a model for the nation,” said Jimmy Palmer, regional administrator for the EPA's Region IV office in Atlanta. “In collaboration with state and federal agencies, the Chamber of Commerce and local government have united the community, industry, and business to maximize environmental progress in the first countywide EMS.”

Representatives of the organizations recently signed a mission and vision statement that will be the basis for the development and implementation of a comprehensive county-wide EMS. The Bartow County EMS could become the first in the nation to be developed jointly by the public and private sectors. Goals of the EMS include improving the county's quality of life and business climate by reducing air emissions, minimizing the production of solid waste and hazardous waste, and improving the management of solid waste and water resources. Beyond the environmental considerations, the EMS is expected to bring cost reductions and efficiency improvements to both industry and government.

Bartow County, with 76,000 residents, is located approximately 40 miles northwest of metropolitan Atlanta.