In recent years, staff of the Grand Rapids Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) and the Wyoming Clean Water Plant (CWP) have each explored alternatives for the future of their respective biosolids programs. Both Wyoming CWP and Grand Rapids WWTP staff anticipate that regulatory requirements in the future will cause changes to how biosolids are processed and utilized, and that significant capital investments will be required not only to keep pace with regulatory changes, but also to replace aging facilities and equipment. In addition, the existing programs are at the mercy of economic factors beyond the control of each City, including fuel costs, landfill tipping fees, and the loss of biosolids application land due to ever expanding urban development.
This process of evaluation began at the Wyoming CWP as part of a 1995 Facilities Plan. At the Grand Rapids WWTP, evaluations were most recently performed under a utilities system-wide Comprehensive Master Plan project started in 2001. In the course of these efforts, it was recognized that since other area utility systems are facing similar challenges with their biosolids programs as the Grand Rapids WWTP and Wyoming CWP, a regional approach may warrant consideration, and may offer benefits to the area facilities and the region in general. Informal discussions between staff of the two plants confirmed the desire to pursue a regional approach to biosolids management. In March of 2002, formal discussions began toward a goal of jointly proceeding in the development of a regional biosolids management project (the "Project"). The initial vision for the Project included a system of digestion, dewatering, heat drying, and pelletizing to form a Class A (“exceptional quality”) marketable end product for beneficial use.