North Kent Sewer Authority

PARCC Side Clean Water Plant

Project Description

PARCC Side shows Plainfield residents that a treatment plant can be a good neighbor.

In 1998, the communities of the North Kent Sewer Authority (NKSA) decided to leave the Grand Rapids wastewater system. During the next decade, Prein&Newhof helped the NKSA plan, design, and construct the PARCC Side Clean Water Plant.

The plant produces clean water for discharge to the Grand River, using bioreactors, state-of-the-art membrane filters, and ultraviolet disinfection. It has the capacity to treat 6 million gallons per day (MGD), and could treat up to 8 MGD with additional membranes.

The relatively-new membrane bioreactor (MBR) treatment process was chosen because it provides a very high degree of treatment for domestic wastewater. Using this process, effluent produced by PARCC Side is extremely clean, having less than 4 ppm of BOD.

P&N and the NKSA worked to design a plant that would be embraced by current and future neighbors:

  • The Sight – The plant is designed to look like a farm, with sloped roofs and various barn-like architectural elements. The major equipment is inside buildings.
  • The Smell – Any treatment processes that could be anaerobic or produce hydrogen sulfide was avoided. A biofilter air treatment system treats air from the headworks and solids dewatering areas.
  • The Sound – All blowers and noise-causing equipment are indoors and surrounded by acoustic absorption material. The generator is equipped with sound enclosures.

Keeping it Green

  • Improved River Water Quality – By using a Membrane Bioreactor system, PARCC Side produces treated water that’s 5 times cleaner than other plants in the area.
  • Energy Recovery – The heat produced by the blower room heats the Machine Building. The biosolids are sent to a landfill, where they help decompose the landfill waste faster, producing methane used for power generation.
  • Low Energy Use – Fine bubble diffusers maximize oxygen transfer in the aeration tanks, reducing air and energy needs. Pumping and blower units have energy-efficient features such as premium duty motors, soft starts, and variable frequency drives.
  • Minimal Chemical Use – Chemicals are flow-paced to match system needs, reducing use and maximizing operational efficiency.
  • Water Re-Use – Processed plant water is used to cool and wash the plant equipment.
  • Wetlands – The project disturbed 2 acres of wetland, so 4 replacement acres were created.


Mark Prein, PE
Senior Project Manager


Engineering Eminent Conceptor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies (Michigan Section), 2010

Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award, American Society of Civil Engineers (Michigan Section), 2010

Consumers Energy’s Large Commercial Project of the Year, 2015