Nicholson and Menard Team Up for Grand Rapids' Biodigester Project

March 14, 2018
Kalamazoo, MI

Geotechnical engineering, construction and general contracting firm Nicholson Construction has teamed up with sister company and ground improvement specialist Menard Group USA on the $38 million biodigester project at the City of Grand Rapids Water Resource Recovery Facility (WRFF).

The biodigester, part of the city’s efforts to rely 100% on renewable energy to power city buildings by 2025, converts food waste into energy. Construction of the biodigester includes three, large-diameter tanks, a process facility, a gallery and various other support structures.

Unsuitable ground conditions at the site were found to be insufficient to support the proposed structures.  In addition, up to 15 feet of fill was required across the site. The combination of unsuitable soil, fill and the proposed structural loads required ground improvement to meet the settlement criteria. 

Menard Group USA was contracted to provide a design-build ground improvement solution consisting of Controlled Modulus Columns (CMC) rigid inclusions.  Once CMCs are installed, a load transfer platform (LPT) will be placed. 

To remedy the voids found in the rock, Nicholson will drill and grout the voided rock on a pre-determined spacing for the planned area of the biodigester structures. 

“It’s always great to work with our sister companies on these large-scale projects,” said Dan Thome, Vice President, Central Region, Nicholson Construction. “Being part of the same larger company allows us to share resources and ideas to come up with the best value for our clients.”

The general contract for the biodigester project is the Christman Company.

About Nicholson Construction Company

Nicholson has been both a leader and an innovator in the geotechnical construction industry for more than 60 years. With regional offices across the country and headquarters located in Pittsburgh, Nicholson is a nationally renowned specialty contractor, offering proven expertise in the design and installation of deep foundation elements, earth retention systems and ground treatment solutions. We pride ourselves on our ability to consistently provide our clients with innovative, high-quality design-build options for projects of varying size and complexity. Nicholson is the North American subsidiary of Soletanche Bachy, one of the world's leading geotechnical contractors, and is part of a global network of unparalleled geotechnical resources and expertise.