GREENVILLE — The city was honored Tuesday by the Michigan Rural Water Association when it was given the Wastewater Treatment Utility of the Year award.
The city was acknowledged by the water association Tuesday for its large upgrade at the wastewater treatment plant which expanded its processing capabilities, added a bio oxidation tower and installed a ground-mounted solar system to offset electrical costs at the plant.
The project was nominated along with many others from more than 459 member communities.
“The nominees were evaluated by our conference committee based on the scope of the project as it compared to others. Greenville’s expansion at the wastewater treatment plant, which consisted of screening, primary tank, generator, solar-power generation and a new trickling filter caught the attention of our committee,” said Michigan Rural Water Association Vice President Bob Masters. “The addition of a solar-power generation field, consisting of six solar bands capable of producing up to 75 kVA (kilovolt amps) solar energy and feeding directly into the plant for energy savings also impressed the committee.”
The $2.31-million project was paid partially by a grant ($1.9 million) from the United States Economic Development Admin-istration and a low-interest loan ($924,000) from the United States Department of Agriculture, something City Manager George Bosanic also caught the attention of the water association.
The project expanded the facility’s processing capabilities from 1.6 million gallons to 1.75 millions gallons per day and added the bio oxidation tower to break down waste.
The treatment process includes microorganisms, or bugs, which eat the bacteria and unwanted parts of the waste to break it down, preparing it for the next step through a trickle system.
Eventually, the water filters back into the Flat River nearly as clean as the river itself, while the unwanted waste will be used in agricultural fields as soil amendments, Project Manager Steven Williams of Williams and Works Inc. previously said.
Along with the expansion, the project included a 75-kilowatt ground-mounted solar system to offset the electrical costs at the plant, Bosanic said. The system was part of the GreenERville project to install solar panels on all publicly owned buildings in the city.
Bosanic said the solar system, which was built in the river floodplain, was built in a way to not impact the panels or the flow of water, something that took a different approach to construction. The panels were built off the ground as not to be affected during river flooding.
Bosanic credited wastewater plant operator Tim Foster, plant supervisor Shawn Wheat, project engineer Steve Williams and all the employees at the facility for the recognition.
“We’re very proud of them and the project as well,” he said.