City of Grand Rapids a serious contender in this years West Michigan Battle of the Buildings

Wastewater_PlantWhen asked their reason for joining The Battle of The Buildings, Environmental Services Manager at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant, Mike Lunn simply chuckled and said, “To win”. When asked how, I was surprised at how excited he was to share their plans. Past, present, and future projects are brewing at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant. Earlier this year, Mike was asked to present at the annual Michigan Water Environment Conference in Boyne, MI where he shared the great things that are happening at the Grand Rapids plant. In September, Mike plans to speak at the national conference where he will be sharing the success of his projects to wastewater professionals from around the world. “We don’t tell people what we do,  we’re good at doing things here”, said Mike when talking about the environmental department where he has been employed for the last 17 years.

Saving energy and being progressive is nothing new to these Battle of the Building competitors. With the competition peaking the halfway mark, Mike is confident that the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant has and will continue to set a great example of how energy conservation and improved operations can go hand in hand.

Below are just a few of the recent projects at the Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant:

  • A self installed LED lighting conversion. Not only did they save time and money with this process but will continue to see positive results in energy savings.
  • Two high efficiency 600 HP blowers will replace two of their five blowers in the North Plant this fall. The more efficient blowers providing a higher turn-down ratio.
  • A heat recovery project is using heat from the north blower building to heat the north secondary building.  This measure is saving them $25,000 annually in natural gas reduction.
  • Their admiration for modern technology has led them to a few new tools like the zero angle photo spectrometer and real-time controls. They are now able to monitor processes at the plant in a convenient and more accurate manner.

Future Changes:

  • They are looking forward to future energy savings with a project that will heat & cool the lab with final effluent.
  • With aerobic, anaerobic, and facultative bugs already in use, they are working towards becoming 100% chemical free.

Beyond WasteWater Treatment:

  • In partnership with  West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMAC) they have incorporated bioswales/rain gardens into their landscape. These bioswales help to reduce water pollution and manage stormwater.
  • With the help of a grant they were able to receive an electric car charger for the plant. Even their cars here are going green.

The Grand Rapids Wastewater Plant provides tours and education to groups, schools and individuals. To schedule a tour, call 616-456-3625. If you decide you want to apply for a position at the plant, Mike has left us with a bit of advice,  “There are three important things to remember when working here;  scum floats, sludge sinks and payday is every other Tuesday.”

Submitted by:
Rebecca Holman, Communication Intern
USGBC West Michigan