The Rapidian

Grand Rapids rolls out environmental success stories road show

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Education push touts infrastructure accomplishments and grand vision for moving city forward.

/City of Grand Rapids

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If you're interested in scheduling an ESD presentation with your Grand Rapids-area civic, economic, or business organization, contact Kolene Allen at (616) 456-3684 or [email protected]

/City of Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department (ESD) is embracing innovative grassroots marketing tactics and rolling out an educational road show this summer to inform constituents about some of the city’s most recent achievements as well as future projects.

Since June, the ESD has used billboards, social media, and presentations at public forums to highlight how the department – working together with city leaders – has produced one of the greatest environmental and public works success stories in Grand Rapids’ history.

In 1969, Grand Rapids was allowing 12.6 billion gallons of raw, untreated sewage to flow into the Grand River.

“Today, we are proud to say that after 27 years of working to separate the city’s sewer and sanitary systems, that number is zero – that’s a landmark achievement,” said ESD Manager Mike Lunn.

“Grand Rapids new sanitary sewer system is universally recognized for its importance in preserving the quality of our watershed for generations to come, which is a mission that’s incredibly important for us in the Great Lakes region,” he said.

Lunn and ESD Stormwater Manager Carrie Rivette have already delivered presentations at The Neighborhood Associations and City of Grand Rapids monthly meeting on June 23, The Kentwood Rotary Club on July 13, and, joined by Rick Devries (the City's Assistant City Engineer), the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce on July 21.

Future presentations are scheduled for Tuesday, August 9 with the East Grand Rapids Rotary Club. They’re also looking to connect with civic groups in Ottawa County to explain how the completion of Grand Rapids $400 million sewer infrastructure system is improving the Grand River and benefitting downriver communities such as Grand Haven and Spring Lake.

In addition, the ESD’s much-heralded “Three Decades of Work. A lifetime of Cleaner Water.” billboard campaign that launched in June throughout the city will resume Aug. 1–Aug. 28.  The Grand Haven-based radio station WGHN also has booked an ongoing series of interviews with Lunn and Rivette through August to discuss Grand Rapids stepped-up efforts to prevent stormwater pollution from entering the Grand River. 

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