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City completes project bringing Richmond Park to a 'greener' state

The city recently completed a four month pilot project that involved the removal of pipes installed in the 1920s.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Replacing pipes with natural channels—that was the goal of a recent project at Richmond Park.

"We made mistakes in the past and we're learning and trying to put them back," said Carrie Rivette, who manages storm water for the city of Grand Rapids.

Pipes and concrete slabs that had been installed back in the 1920s were removed to allow for a more natural flow of water from Indian Mill Creek to the pond at Richmond Park. 

"We're learning that the more you rush the water into the lakes and streams, the more problems you have," Rivette said.

Rivette explains that when water from Indian Mill Creek is able to flow naturally to the lakes and streams it feeds into it's cleaner and the potential for flooding is lessened. 

"Anything we can do to improve water quality in Indian Mill Creek, which goes to the Grand River, which goes to Lake Michigan, which is where we get our drinking water," Rivette said. "It helps the fish, but it's also the water we take in later."

The process of removing old pipes and opening them up into a natural above ground channel is called 'daylighting.' 

This was the city of Grand Rapids' first attempt at 'daylighting,' but Rivette says they hope to continue with similar projects around the city. 

"Anything we can do to improve water quality improves our quality of life," she said.

The project cost $350,000 to complete and was part of the Green Grand Rapids master plan

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 Emma Nicolas is a multimedia journalist. Have a news tip or question for Emma? Get in touch by email, Facebook or Twitter.

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