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Meijer Installs Green Infrastructure to Improve Water Quality in Traverse City

In an effort to improve the water quality in Kids Creek, we partnered with the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay on the installation of green infrastructure – in the form of five underground infiltration structures and six bioretention cells – in our Traverse City, Mich. Meijer parking lot.

These giant structures were designed to capture and infiltrate almost 400,000 gallons of stormwater from a 2-inch rain event over the parking lot area. They temporarily store stormwater and let it seep into the ground after a heavy rainfall, keeping it from flowing directly into Kids Creek.

“Meijer is committed to Great Lakes stewardship because our waterways are vital to our everyday lives,” said Erik Petrovskis, Director of Environmental Compliance and Sustainability for Meijer. “We were approached by the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay to team up on a project at our store in Traverse City, which we believe is the right thing to do.”

We’re also partnering with the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) to install 13 gutter bins this month at the same store to capture trash in parking lot catch basins before it reaches the water system.

Green infrastructure is one of the best tools we use to manage stormwater on our sites. Soil, vegetation, and other elements are used to filter, treat, move and manage stormwater. This method can reduce the risk of erosion and flooding.

For new stores, we evaluate the site for green infrastructure potential and implement it when we can. We’ve also been working to retrofit older sites with green infrastructure when we replace parking lots.

The Traverse City Meijer is adjacent to Kids Creek. For nearly 20 years, the Watershed Center has worked to restore Kids Creek, on Traverse City’s west side, to being a healthy, functioning stream. The group approached Meijer about retrofitting our parking lot with green infrastructure.

“This effort compliments our Kids Creek Restoration Project aimed at improving water quality and reducing stormwater, sediment, and nutrient inputs to the creek,” said Christine Crissman, Executive Director for The Watershed Center. “We are thrilled Meijer is investing in the protection of clean water and look forward to our continued partnership.”

The grant to cover the subsurface work came through the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy. The green infrastructure system was designed by Drummond Carpenter and installed by local contractors Team Elmer’s and Inhabitect, LLC.

“The timing was great because we were getting ready to repave the parking lot as part of a store remodel,” Erik said. “We teamed up with the Watershed Center to win the state grant for the project.”

The project exemplifies one of our pillars of sustainability and our commitment to the Great Lakes. This work is part of a concerted effort we’re making to protect the Great Lakes and rid them of litter, specifically plastics. In September, Meijer was the first retailer to unveil innovative beach and water cleaning drones in the Great Lakes in partnership with the CGLR.

That same month, Meijer sponsored two Adopt-a-Beach cleanup events at Traverse City State Park near downtown Traverse City and at Headland Dunes State Park near Cleveland, and unveiled a rain garden project at the Benton Harbor Meijer – comprised of three small rain gardens in the retailer’s main parking lot, and a fourth nearly a ½ acre in size – on property located next to the store that Meijer donated to the Berrien County Drain Commission.

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