PARCC Side Clean Water Plant

North Kent Sewer Authority

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.


2010 Engineering Eminent Conceptor Award, American Council of Engineering Companies (Michigan Section) • 2010 Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement Award, American Society of Civil Engineers (Michigan Section) • 2015 Consumers Energy’s Large Commercial Project of the Year


Call Mark Prein, P.E. at 616-364-8491 Email at:

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