Holland Engineering Assists with Allegan County’s First Wetland Septic System

The Outdoor Discovery Center/Macatawa Greenway is doing many exciting projects around the West Michigan area and Holland Engineering is excited to be supporting their efforts.

HEI is currently providing construction support services on a constructed wetland project, assisting with designs for a future trail extension and the addition of a new interpretive visitor’s center building on the main campus.   This building will provide more space to display exhibits, a new welcome and information desk and increase classroom space.

HEI worked with the project team including ODC staff, CL Construction, and Lucid Architecture to develop a site plan that could accommodate the centers current and future growth needs while reducing environmental impacts.  Due to the high groundwater table and site soil types, the property was not able to obtain a permit for a conventional on-site septic system and all the facility’s currently on the site were on a pump and haul system which was quickly becoming undesirable and costly.   After a site meeting with the local health department an interesting idea was born and the site became a test cause for the first constructed wetland septic treatment system in the county.

Interacting closely with the Health Department staff, HEI created a design for the system and established a testing and user’s manual to ensure that the system is working for this site.  The system will take standard septic tank effluent and pass in though a gravel-filled box, which is populated with several different types of wetland vegetation prior to discharge into a conventional drain field system.  Plants are chosen specifically for their ability to filter out specific nutrients in the wastewater stream and therefore “clean” the water prior to discharge.  This system will be closely monitored by ODC staff and reports provided to the health department will help determine if other system will be permitted in the area.

For more information on this project or on HEI’s civil infrastructure services, please contact Ryan Ysseldyke, P.E., Project Manager/Engineer at 616.392.5938 or via email at: rysseldyke@hollandengineering.com .