The result of urban growth, by the late 1940's many unregulated, open-type dumps began to appear in Michigan, including in Kent County. With support of the State Health Department and to better understand this burgeoning problem, in 1965 the Kent County Board of Supervisors appointed a Garbage and Refuse Disposal Study Committee. With the assistance of the Health Department, Planning Department, Department of Public Works and an engineering consultant, the committee completed a study entitled Report on Refuse Disposal - October 1966 documenting the magnitude of the problem and "to determine the most efficient method for the disposal of refuse of all kinds for all municipalities and townships in Kent County".
In 1965, twenty-nine dumps were scattered throughout the County with 11 municipally-owned and seven privately-owned still operating. Most were filling up and none met the upgraded licensing and disposal requirements of the newly enacted PA 87 of 1965, ultimately forcing closure of these sites.
Kent County DPW's assistance was sought because municipal and private industry disposal options were shrinking and new facilities were not available to meet a burgeoning refuse disposal problem.
In 1967, the Board of Supervisors created the Kent County Refuse System and directed the Department of Public Works to develop a countywide refuse system including financing, design, construction, and operation with Board of Public Works oversight. Over the course of the next few years, the DPW negotiated agreements with 13 municipalities to provide disposal services and in the early 1970's assumed the operating responsibility for two municipal dumps (known today as Kentwood Landfill and Sparta Landfill) as a stop gap measure to provide needed disposal capacity, improve site conditions and implement closure plans.
Sparta Landfill is a Superfund site. Superfund is the name given to the federal program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites.
1500 Scribner NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Darwin Baas, Director
Kimberly Williams, Finance Director
Molly Sherwood, Environmental Compliance Manager
Dan Rose, Solid Waste Operations Manager
Nic VanderVinne, Resource Recovery & Recycling Manager
Paul Smith, Waste-to-Energy Operations Manager
Kristen Wieland, Marketing & Communications Manager
Alisha Barber, Office Administrator