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The City of Grand Rapids wins Project of the Year Award for innovative energy efficiency project

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Environmental Services Department wins APWA 2016 Project of the Year
James Hurt (City of GR), Jack Freyling (Franklin Holwerda), Greg Krcmarik (City of GR), and John Hayes (City of GR) accept award

James Hurt (City of GR), Jack Freyling (Franklin Holwerda), Greg Krcmarik (City of GR), and John Hayes (City of GR) accept award /City of Grand Rapids


  • The City of Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility can treat up to 61.1 million gallons per day
  • The Water Resource Recovery Facility services not just Grand Rapids, but 10 other communities to treat an average of 40 million gallons of water a day
  • There are 1,100 miles of Sanitary Sewer throughout the City
  • There are almost 24,000 Sanitary Sewer Manholes in the City 
  • There are 383 miles of Storm Sewer pipes with 1,355 manholes in the City
  • There are 17,800 Catch Basins throught the City
  • The City operates 7 Air Quality Monitors located throughout West Michigan

The City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department is an award winner once again.

The Michigan Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) recently presented Grand Rapids with its 2016 Project of the Year Award. The award recognizes the city’s Water Resource Recovery Facility's innovative new energy efficiency program that is saving taxpayers $2.2 million in energy costs through 2031.

“Grand Rapids energy efficiency improvements provide reliable, high-quality water and wastewater services at fair and reasonable rates,” said Jessica Katers, the APWA Michigan Chapter awards chair. “The enhancements also adhere to strict environmental standards and the sustainable and responsible use of the resources they manage.”

The APWA Project of the Year award promotes excellence in the management and administration of public works projects. It recognizes the alliance between public works managing agencies, consultants/architects/engineers, and contractors. 

“The APWA award is another example why Grand Rapids is recognized for embracing technology, environmental stewardship and smart investment in its infrastructure,” said Environmental Services Department Manager Mike Lunn. 

To reduce the consumption of energy at the Water Resource Recovery Facility, the Environmental Services Department teamed with Troy-based OpTerra Energy Services in 2013. The team launched the first phase of a robust two-year project that reduces utility power needs as well as carbon dioxide emissions by 2,835 tons. That is equal to removing nearly 600 passenger vehicles off the road every year. 

The $2.2 million effort has improved air conditioning controls and increased heating and cooling efficiencies at the Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility and the city’s Market Avenue Pump Station, Market Avenue Retention Basin and Sewer Maintenance Building. OpTerra hired Wyoming-based Franklin Holwerda Company as the project’s mechanical contractor.

Constructed in 1931, the Water Resource Recovery Facility has expanded to provide service for 11 West Michigan communities. It treats an average of 40 million gallons of water per day.

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