Wastewater Treatment

Since building our waste water treatment facility in 1931, we've changed a lot more than the name. We've worked hard to restore the quality and reputation of the Grand River, our most precious resource.

We treat 40 million gallons of waste water every day and keep all untreated sewage out of the river. And we use state-of-the-art technology to do it in the most sustainable way possible.

Three decades of work. A lifetime of cleaner water.

During the 1960s, there were 59 points in the city where raw or partially treated sewage could overflow into the Grand River. Billions of gallons of sewage flowed into the river every year.

Today, there are no combined sewer overflows and 0 gallons of untreated sewage entering the river.

Cleaner water is a result of the Sewer Improvement Project. Learn more about the project and CSOs below.

Sewer Improvement Project

To best treat wastewater, we have to know what's flowing into our system.

Our Industrial Pretreatment Program controls the release of toxic substances into the wastewater system by monitoring the discharge of significant industrial users (SIU).

All non-domestic users in the Grand Rapids Water System complete a survey to collect detailed information on their use. Facilities deemed SIUs must then apply for a permit to specify discharge standards and conditions.

Download the Wastewater Discharge Permit Application

 Permit applications can be sent via mail or faxed to 616-456-4423.


Get a permit.

The Water Resource Recovery Facility accepts portable toilet waste by permit only. To request a discharge permit, give us a call at 616-456-3625.

Biosolids are the organic material collected throughout the water recovery process. Currently, we extract this material, load it into sealed trucks, and send it to landfills.

Grand Rapids is a certified Environmental Management System with the National Biosolids Partnership. This modern management approach keeps our operations efficient and protective of the environment.

More About Biosolids

Find out where your water goes.

We offer free tours of the Water Resource Recovery Facility all year round. This is a great way to learn about the water treatment process from start to finish.

The 90-minute tour starts with a presentation on the treatment process, and many of our green initiatives and ends with a walk-through of the treatment facility.

Request a Tour