North Kent Sewer Treatment Plant

‘Toilet to tap’ concept plugged at plant dedication

June 11, 2009 // 0 Comments

Sewer Authority Board Chairman and Rockford City Manager Michael Young called the day historic and the story courageous. The plant is the ninth largest of its kind in the entire world, and built from the initiative of five communities. According to Young, it was built with 13,500 cubic yards of concrete, the equivalent of 27 and a half tons which was brought in by 1,500 concrete trucks. There are 17,000 tons of steel in the plant, the site took in 163,000 yards of sand (the missing hill of the medical mile in Grand Rapids)  and a quarter million yards of dirt. The effluent that the plant produces from the more than four million gallons of sewage it takes in daily is cleaner than the Grand River. It also doesn’t taste half bad. Young declined to taste the liquid, which for a decade he has bragged up as “so clean you literally could drink it.” But many others at the day’s ceremony weren’t as reluctant. Plainfield Township Manager Robert Homan was joined with plant manager Larry Campbell for the first swig of the brew, which indeed looked clear if not tasty. “It’s a little funky,” Homan reported. Campbell said it was better than some city water he’s had. Homan amazed onlookers by filling his glass up again for another swig. His enthusiasm proved contagious. Former Cannon Township treasurer Dan Barker followed suit with a drink as did State Representative Tom Pearce. Plainfield Township’s clerk Scott Harvey downed a glass. Squire reporters Cliff Hill and Beth Altena were so caught up in the moment, they drank the treated sewage too. Campbell said it is almost a shame that the effluent is released into the Grand River because the quality is so good it should be put to use. He said if there was still a golf course close by he’d talk to them about taking advantage of this clean water. “As a country someday we are going to have to come to grips with the concept of ‘toilet to tap,’ ” said Campbell. He said at the high level of treatment this water receives, it wouldn’t take much to make it as clean as the water in our faucets and water bottles. “You could take it one step further […]