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Grand Rapids breaks ground on $38 million biodigester sludge treatment center

Grand Rapids city officials putting shovels into the ground
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Grand Rapids city officials breaking ground at the Enviornmental Services Department's Water Resource Recovery Facility

Grand Rapids broke ground on the $38 million dollar biodigester sludge treatment system that could help Grand Rapids reach sustainability goals.

A biodigester is like a mechanical stomach. It takes in organic waste and converts it to renewable energy.

Mayor Rosalynn Bliss says the city wants to be using 100 percent renewable energy sources by 2025.

“It's creative ideas like this that will help us get to renewable energy goals, but also be a positive force on the environment,” Bliss said.

Mayor Bliss says this new facility is part of a citywide effort to increase sustainability.

“For a long time as a city, we have been seen as a green leader, really across the country, and so we want to keep that title and we want to get to that 100 percent renewable energy, and this will allow us to do that,” she said.

Environmental Services Manager Mike Lunn says the biodigester will actually be able to usher in new revenue streams for the city.

“We’ll be able to get phosphorous, which is a very limited resource, out of the sludge. We’ll be able to get lots of limited resources from [the sludge] actually,” Lunn said. 

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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