The swirling liquid rushes into concrete channels behind a black chain-link fence.
“That is what sewage looks like,” says Nicole Pasch, who works in Environmental Services for the city of Grand Rapids.
Pasch is showing off the wastewater treatment facility, along with the various stages the sewage has to pass through before it can be sent back into the nearby Grand River, which flows into Lake Michigan.
There’s the filter that pulls out paper, trash and lost toys. Then another mechanism to take out sand, or gravel that's made its way into the water. There are multiple steps involving multiple buildings.
Every part of the system is tracked, with real-time information and alerts showing up in a series of large HD screens back in Pasch’s work room.