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GRDadof3

Should city invest $100 Million more into sewage system upgrades

Should the city continue the separation project?   88 members have voted

  1. 1. Should the city continue the separation project and use the $100 Million (already planned)

    • Yes, finish the project
      69
    • No, enough has been done, focus on other pollutants
      16
    • Don't know
      3

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29 posts in this topic

After $210 million, mayor questions cleanup costs

GRAND RAPIDS -- Mayor George Heartwell is questioning whether the city's plan to eliminate sewage spills into the Grand River is worth the cost.

After spending $210 million to eliminate 99.5 percent of its "combined sewage overflows," it will cost the city another $100 million to live up to its promise to eliminate the last half-percent by 2019.

In 2005, 50 Million gallons of combined sewage was discharged into the Grand River, down 99.5% from the 1960's when 12 Billion gallons were discharged per year.

Do you agree with the mayor that the $100 Million available could be better spent on other pollution and runoff problems in the watershed? Or do you think the "message" sent by completing the project is worth finishing it all, even if it takes until 2019?

What other environmental issues could be targeted with this money?

The money does not come out of the city's annual budget, but is being driven by municipal bonds.

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I say finish the sewer system. Why leave it incomplete if its nearly done now?

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I say finish it, but also get Lansing to get off their arses and start curbing the pollution they dump into the river. If you look at the graph in the paper, GR contributes just a small fraction of the pollution. I think we should get to 100% but if Lansing doesn't stop polluting, it will be just a small victory.

Joe

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This is one of the biggest reasons the NKSA made its move. Not only did the parties to that agreement want to eliminate discharges entirely, they have sought out a very environmentally friendly filtration system.

In a few words: ALMOST no discharges ain't good enough.

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This really needs to be more then a GR project, it needs to be a state-wide project. The Grand River is the largest river in Michigan, and is the largest river that resides in one state in the entire US.

Its importance is up there with a lot of major rivers in the US, and its definitely worth the effort to clean it up, STATE-wide.

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Finish it. 50 million gallons of raw sewage is still unaccpetable. We made a commitment and we must follow through on it to completion.

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I can somewhat see where Heartwell and others member of his staff are coming from, however I agree that it should be finished. Although it's a lot of money for .5% of the work, 50 million gallons is still unacceptable. And just because Lansing and other cities have not held up their end is all the more reason to continue to be the shining star in the State, and set the example for others to follow.

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I take it that you guys haven't heard of the multi-million dollar sewer separation project that's been going on for years here in Lansing (since 1992)? Let me tell you, it's been a headache (and has led to the closing of a few businesses), but it's been well worth it. Not to mention we're putting some rain gardens along Michigan Avenue which may spur further rain gardens to help clean additional storm water runoff. Improvements have also been made in dumping into the river, though, it still has a ways to go. But, on the sewer separation end of the issue, we started back in 92.

Lansing CSO Project

http://www.cityoflansingmi.com/pubserv/pub...cso_project.jsp

Information about the Upper Grand River Watershed

http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3...04363--,00.html

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Eventually it should be finished, but $100MM for just 0.5% of the entire project? It seems we could fix a large portion of other cities' sewers with that money for a greater net benefit. Yes, eventually we should reach 100% but let's get the biggest bang for our buck now.

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I would doubt that it is as simple as saying, "take the 100 million and apply it to another issue". I would be surprised if in the end that 100 million stays available or gets reallocated.

A sustainable Grand Rapids will need to have this project completed, however, I would be curious to know the major environmental concerns that impact the city. I don't know where we have set goals or benchmarks for other environmental concerns so that we would know where we would get the most bang for our buck if we were to spend 100,000,000 somewhere else?

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A sustainable Grand Rapids will need to have this project completed....

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It is only .5 percent of overflow as compared to the 1960s. That means very little. Just because the sewage overflow is way down, if it is still a large quantity of sewage, it still will have vast consequences to the environment. If you make the commitment you should follow through.

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The article said that Michigan had 20 billion gallons CSO in 2005 statewide. Grand Rapids contributed 50 million gallons of that total. So the 2nd largest city in Michigan contibuted only 1/4 of 1 percent (0.25%) of the total sewage discharged in 2005. 16 billion gallons came from Detroit. Over 1 billion gallons came from our upstream neighbor Lansing - 20 times more than Grand Rapids. I think we've done a great job.

I would like to see a list of where the mayor might spend the money to reduce other forms of pollution. It always costs more to fix the last 5 -10% of a problem than the first 90-95%. In that context there could be more "bang for the buck" from spending $100M elsewhere.

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I think this project needs to be finished. If other cities follow the example, the Grand River could be much cleaner in the future. MI is the Great Lake state afterall, and even though this is a small step in clean water projects in the state, it's important.

I've heard one of the main reasons dams were installed on the Grand in downtown GR was to keep water levels up so that nasty smells aren't emitted during dry spells. Maybe this is a stretch, but if the river was cleaned up enough, those dams could potentially be removed--opening the space to kayakers, crew teams, etc, and revealing some of the beautiful rapids the city was named for (unless all the limestone is gone?).

Also, for anyone who travels to Grand Haven, it would be nice knowing the water along the beach is cleaner.

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Maybe this is a stretch, but if the river was cleaned up enough, those dams could potentially be removed--opening the space to kayakers, crew teams, etc, and revealing some of the beautiful rapids the city was named for (unless all the limestone is gone?).

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We've talked about this at length before. If you removed the dams from the river you would stir up all of the toxic sediment that lies deep in the river bed from our industrial polluting past. You'd kill every living thing in the river from here to the lake for a long, long time to come.

Best to keep the dams in place for the time being.

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I say put it back the way it was. Before, we'd get the occasional sewage overflow...oh no, some stinky stuff and e coli. Now, we get to avoid the e coli but instead are dumping in every ounce of oil from the road, antifreeze stupid people poor down the storm sewers, sediment runoff, fertilizers that significantly increase alge blooms and decrease oxygen, etc. Non-bacterial polution is going to go up and up now that the sewage system is separate. Seems to me the best would have been to just create gigantic retention ponds and call it good enough. Using the money for the sewer system for things like scrubbers on powerplants, $ to help promot core growth instead of urban sprawl, etc., would have done a lot more for the environment as a whole that separating some sewage lines...imo. 'Course, I'm just a layperson, so I could be way off here... :blush:

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I remember a few years ago they did some river bed clean up in a few of the rivers on paper mills in the UP and Wisconsin. I think it was mostly PCB

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I would love to see the Grand cleaned up and man made rapids installed in the downtown stretch of the river to restore GR's namesake.

Youd lose the rapids anyway, if you did that.

This reminds me of a story i heard about Dow Chemical. I heard that they have to dredge like 25 or 30 miles of the titabawasse river because of all the nasty stuff they did to the river. I think it was because they found Agent Orange and a Rediculously high level of dioxoins in the bottom of the river, so i think they have dredge down several feet into the river bottom. Maybe they could do the same thing in GR?

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After $210 million, mayor questions cleanup costs

GRAND RAPIDS -- Mayor George Heartwell is questioning whether the city's plan to eliminate sewage spills into the Grand River is worth the cost.

After spending $210 million to eliminate 99.5 percent of its "combined sewage overflows," it will cost the city another $100 million to live up to its promise to eliminate the last half-percent by 2019.

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Um this seems rather obvious. If the city fixed 99.5% of the problem for 210 million and it would cost 100 million for the last .05% then um it would be crazy to do it. Spend the 100 million removing the dams, converting city lights to LED lights.

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I would like to see a break down of why it will cost an additional 100 million dollars. It could be that the money will be used on needed repairs of the sewer system but parts of the system that do not contribute to the actual total of overflow. If the money goes towards areas and fixes areas of the system that would cost more money in the future to repair, then it should be finished for the other benefits. If they felt that these upgrades were necessary back when they were planned for, then I think they should finish them without second guesses.

I really do not like splitting the sewers into two sections either because it allows pollution from storm drains to enter the watershed as well. I think it would have been better to figure out some way to prevent overflows into the river without allowing storm runoff to go directly into the river.

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The thing I don't understand is who "sells" a project as "We'll do 99.5% of what you want for 210 million".. Why not just say, "You want xyz accomplished, this will cost $310 million".

If you're goal is to get rid of all the pollutants, and you know it's going to cost $310million and you buy off on it, what's the point of going back and questioning each line item?

(I voted yes finish fyi...)

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The recent Sewer Separation Scorecard:

Detroit 2006 - 32.3 Billion (yes billion) gallons of sewage overflow into Detroit rivers

Lansing 2006 - 392 Million gallons into the Grand River

Grand Rapids 2006 - 32.6 Million gallons (only 1.6 Million gallons in 2007)

Unfortunately Grand Rapids had over 80 Million gallons of sewage overflow during the July 2nd, 2008 deluge of rain. The complete separation by 2020 is still moving forward.

http://www.mlive.com/news/grpress/index.ss....xml&coll=6

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