The "River of Two Cities" Rain Garden is located at 1300 Market Ave. SW at the Grand Valley Regional Biosolids Authority Dewatering Facility. It was established in August, 2009.
The Grand Valley Regional Biosolids Authority (GVRBA) Dewatering Facility is a Silver Certified LEED Building and the first LEED Building for the City of Grand Rapids, Environmental Services Department. The environmentally conscious management and retention of Stormwater from the site assisted in earning points toward the LEED accreditation. The site has many retention areas for the storm water and collectively the sites are named, The "River of Two Cities" Rain Garden.
GVRBA is a cooperation between the Cities of Wyoming and Grand Rapids; hence the name for our garden. Both cities had a common need in handling solid waste (biosolids) from their water treatment facilities, and on Earth Day 2005, our mayors signed the Memorandum of Agreement for the GVRBA. The solid waste is pumped to a single facility and handled in an environmentally friendly manner, by disposal in energy producing landfills or land application. The energy producing landfills mix biosolids, which are rich in microorganisms, with landfill waste to assist in decomposition and increased methane gas production. The landfill captures the methane gas and converts it to a usable energy. Mixing biosolids with landfill waste has proven to increase decomposition rates, resulting in the use of landfills for a longer period and thus the reduction in landfill space needed. We achieved the triple bottom line of sustainability with this project by achieving economic, environmental and social responsibility.
The GVRBA met both cities’ needs and was able to do so with one facility, saving money for the citizens of both Grand Rapids and Wyoming. The biosolids are handled in an environmentally friendly manner and LEED accreditation was achieved on the new Dewatering Facility, meeting Environmental Responsibility. Social responsibility was met by assisting in the production of landfills and the lessening of landfill impact on our citizens. Rain Gardens meet their own triple bottom line of sustainability achievement by being socially beautiful green spaces in cities, by environmentally controlling Stormwater pollution and economically being less expensive than Stormwater treatment, collection and pumping facilities.
The "River of Two Cities" is composed of 13 depressions. One depression on the site has modified soil layers for effective drainage and has been planted with ten Michigan native plant species. Other depressions have been engineered for retention and have been planted with Michigan native grasses and was planted with Michigan native wildflowers in 2010. The depressions are interconnected, allowing for water to equally flow to each area. 100% of the site’s Stormwater is directed to the rain garden and managed on site. The site is approximately 4 acres and the rain garden manages 3 million gallons of Stormwater annually. In a traditional build, Stormwater would be directed from impervious surfaces (streets, roof tops etc.) away from the site and would run toward a storm drain and carry pollutants directly to the river. In this conscious build, we have directed all Stormwater and the pollutants it carries, toward the gardens which allows the native plants and soil to clean the water before it enters our watershed.
The City of Grand Rapids Environmental Services Department is proud to achieve this triple bottom line in sustainability and be part of the one and only LEED Certified Dewatering Facility in the world. We are serving our citizens and community through environmental protection in the best and most responsible way possible. We thank our community in their continued support of our efforts.