City of Grand Rapids completes major CSO project years ahead of goal

The City of Grand Rapids, Mich., has completed its combined sewer overflow control project three years ahead of a state mandated deadline. The project significantly improves the water quality in the Grand River and reduces localized flooding.

OVERLAND PARK, KS, Sept. 1, 2015 -- The City of Grand Rapids, Mich., has completed its combined sewer overflow (CSO) control project three years ahead of a state mandated deadline. The project significantly improves the water quality in the Grand River and reduces localized flooding. Black & Veatch provided the city with planning, design and construction engineering services.

The Grand Rapids sewer system was constructed more than 100 years ago. It used combined sewers with both stormwater and sanitary sewage transported in a single pipeline. The CSO approach was common at the time of construction. However, during heavy rainfall, CSOs caused flooding and allowed untreated sewage to be discharged into the Grand River. The State of Michigan issued a mandate to the city in 1988 to eliminate all CSOs by 2019.

Black & Veatch began providing project engineering services for the city's CSO project in 1988. This work was focused on eliminating 59 sewer overflow sites and discharges into the Grand River by separating and replacing storm and sanitary sewers. The first phase of the project on the west side of the city was completed in 1999. Work was recently completed on the east side at the intersection of Washington Street and Lafayette Avenue on the last of the 59 original overflow sites.

Black & Veatch's work on the project included designing green infrastructure components such as narrowing existing roadways where possible to increase grass parkways. This decreases water flows on concrete and asphalt surfaces. Additional green infrastructure included rain gardens, pervious pavements and hydrodynamic separators to remove sediments.

See also: "Control system at Grand Rapids WWTP helps save residents money, energy"

###

More in Environmental