Grand Rapids marks 4 years since historic flooding with sewage upgrades

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - It's been four years since the Grand River set a record high level in downtown Grand Rapids.

Rain was measured for 14 days straight through mid-April in 2013, with amounts adding up to 9.84 inches for the two-week stretch. Two days after the rain ended, the Grand River reached its peak height -- or crested -- at 21.85 feet on April 22.

That's more than 10 feet above the designated "Action Stage" of 12 feet at the gage location in downtown Grand Rapids.

Millions of dollars in damage was reported and the clean-up effort lasted for months. Not just because of debris but also sewage overflows caused by insufficient infrastructure.

On Tuesday, April 18, 2017, community members and leaders joined to celebrate the completion of a project decades in the making.

The city considers it one of the greatest environmental success stories in Grand Rapids history.

Officials spent $400 million in 27 years to complete the sewer system.

Former Mayor of Grand Rapids George Heartwell spoke at today's ceremony: "We could say we had finished ... completed ... the last of 59 sewer overflow sites and the installation of 119 million miles of new pipeline."

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