PARCC Side Clean Water Plant wins top state honors

North Kent plant chosen as Michigan’s best new project

A new West Michigan wastewater treatment facility was recognized recently for its superior engineering. The North Kent Sewer Authority’s PARCC Side Clean Water Plant, located along the Grand River just north of Grand Rapids, received the 2010 Engineering Eminent Conceptor Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) of Michigan. This is the highest honor ACEC gives to an engineering project.

The 48 million dollar project treats wastewater from Plainfield, Alpine, Cannon and Courtland townships and the City of Rockford. The plant currently processes approximately four million gallons of wastewater each day with a state-of-the-art membrane bioreactor treatment system. This new system produces effluent (treated water) of a far greater quality than any plant in the Grand Rapids area, reducing the amount of nutrients discharged into the Grand River by over 100 tons per year!

The North Kent Sewer Authority (NKSA) and Prein&Newhof (P&N) worked hard to make the plant a green addition to the community:

• Energy Recovery—The heat produced by the blower room heats the machine building. The waste material removed from the wastewater is sent to a landfill, where it helps decompose the landfill waste faster, producing methane used for power generation.

• Low Energy Use—Fine bubble diffusers maximize oxygen transfer in the aeration tanks, reducing air and energy needs. Pumping and blower units have energy-efficient features such as premium duty motors, soft starts, and variable frequency drives.

• Minimal Chemical Use—Chemicals are flow-paced to match system needs, reducing use and maximizing operational efficiency.

• Water Re-Use—Processed plant water is used to cool and wash the plant equipment.

• Wetlands—The project disturbed two acres of wetland, so four replacement acres were created.

• Threatened Species Revival—Beak grass, the threatened species found on site, was moved to a different location, where it is now thriving.

In addition to the membrane bioreactor, the plant uses an ultraviolet system to disinfect the effluent before releasing it to the river; a green biofilter air treatment system to remove odors from plant air; and inclined screw presses to dewater the biosolids before they are sent to a landfill. Each of these technologies is on the cutting edge, and allows the plant to be very space and energy efficient.

This award honors both the NKSA and P&N, the local engineering firm that planned, designed and oversaw construction for the project. It is presented annually to a Michigan infrastructure project in recognition of the project’s:

• application of new technologies;

• future value to the engineering profession;

• social, economic and sustainable design considerations;

• complexity.

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