Western Michigan city OKs device to turn waste into a fuel

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A western Michigan city is moving ahead with a nearly $34 million project to equip its wastewater treatment plant with a egg-shaped device that will break down waste and turn it into a fuel.

The Holland City Council voted Wednesday to approve a contract calling for construction of an anaerobic digester tank at the Holland Board of Public Works’ wastewater treatment plant.

The digester will break down solid waste left after the wastewater treatment process and produce biogas, which can be used to provide heat or electricity at the plant, the Holland Sentinel reported. The tank will also reduce the amount of solids that will need to be disposed of by plant workers.

The council voted to award a $29.3 million construction contract with a $1.8 million contingency fee to Grand Rapids-based Davis Construction. Engineering costs for the project are $2.6 million, bringing the project's full cost to $33.7 million.

The city's Board of Public Works had set aside $32 million for the project. The council approved a transfer of $1.7 million to cover the remaining costs.

Construction on the tank is scheduled to start in October and wrap up in 2023.

Holland’s contract is contingent on the Board of Public Works reaching a successful financial deal with the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund.

If the project is approved for state funding, the state will buy $30 million in bonds issued by the Board of Public Works and offer a 2 percent interest rate on the bond payments.