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Grand Rapids biodigester nears final production phase

biodigester grand rapids.jpg
Posted at 9:50 AM, Mar 24, 2021

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The City of Grand Rapids is getting close to being able to manage municipal solids in an environmentally-sustainable manner – and produce natural gas, electricity and phosphorus.

A new biodigester is in its final stages of production, according to a news release Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the City Commission authorized the extension of a professional services contract with The Christman Company to align with the biodigester’s final completion timetable.

The project remains under budget with no additional funding associated with the contract extension, according to city officials.

City Engineer Tim Burkman says 95 percent of the biodigestion equipment has been installed and commissioning is now underway.

While biodigester construction is expected to wrap up by March 31, Christman’s contract extension through December will keep the team intact through the biological startup of the digesters, including all stages of the process of seeding, digestion and commissioning.

“Final process completion, as well as associated coordination with the related renewable natural gas and phosphorus recovery projects, are ongoing, hence the extension request,” Burkman said. “This is due to revised phasing, extended equipment delivery schedules and COVID-19-related delays.”

The project is also expected to help the city have the treatment capacity it needs as the region continues to grow, as well as help the city save money in the process.

Burkman also says the biodigester has the potential to generate revenue.