Newspaper Archive of
Beverly Hills Weekly
Beverly Hills, California
March 30, 2000     Beverly Hills Weekly
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March 30, 2000

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around+tc00 Where Does It All Go? Part ill Everything you wanted to know about Beverly Hills&apos; sewage. By Michele Lu Treatment Pbnt' Every day, you and about 4 million other people in the Los Angeles area bathe, brush your teeth and flush toilets without giving a second thought as to where the 75 to 100 gallons of waste water you generate goes. An average of 447 million gallons of waste water per day is treated at the area's four waste water treatment plants which are located sca,y Within a service area of 600 square miles. The Hyperion Treatment Plant, located in Playa Del Rey, is the largest of the four facilities and serves the cities of Los Angeles, Be+eerly Hills, West Hollywood, Santa Monica, San Fernando, Culver City, El Segundo, Glendale and Burbank. It also serves 20 other "special districts" such as the Federal Building in Westwood and West Los Angeles College. Charles B. Turhotlow, a senior sanitary engineer and 16-year veteran at Hyperion, gave me a very thorough tour of the 144-acre waste water treatment plant. The collection system consists of 6,500 miles of underground sewer lines that range in size between 8 inches and twelve and a half feet in diameter. The plant was established in 1894 but the col- lection system wasn't really organized until the 1920s. Beverly Hills is a contract agency which means that Beverly Hills waste water is treated by the City of Los Angcles. Each day. approximate- ly 360 mil- lion gallons of waste water flows into Hyperion, 85% of it via gravity, which Turhollow claims is an advantage. "It is economically efficient to have it flow by gravity because it means there is no need for the waste water to be pumped. Pumping requires electricity and in the event of a power failure, the system might not continue working," Turhollow said. In the preliminary treatment stage, the incoming waste water, or raw sewage, arrives through five main trunk lines. Chemical neutralizers such as caustic and bleach are added to the foul air. Nineteen- toot-tall bar screens, with vertical bars set three-quarters of an inch apart, sieve the flow into the plant. Their purpose is to take out coarse debris such as 2-by-4's and rags that might plug up the equip- ment. Giant mechanical rakes remove whatever catches on the screens. Five tons a day of debris are removed from the screens, loaded into trucks and taken to municipal landfills. According to Turhoilow, they have found unusual things including a bowling bali, a motor- cycle frame and, get this, a 17-foot tele- phone pole. Afterward, the effluent rests in giant grit-removal tanks, where every day between five and 10 tons of sand is taken out of the process. Turhollow says that it is necessary to remove the sand because it will erode the pipes and pumps down- stream. In the primary treatment stage, the waste water then passes into large under- ground tanks the size of 5-6 football fields. The waste water is held undis- turbed for one to two hours for gravity settling. Oil and grease are skimmed. Heavy solids, or sludge, settle to the bot- tom. Between 800,000-900.000 pounds of solids are collected a day at the plant. At this point, the effluent and the solids then enter the secondary treatment stage. The effluent goes into 270-foot under- ground tanks known as reactors where oxygen-loving, scavenger bacteria busy themselves with eating the waste. A mixer stirs the bacteria with the unset- tleable solids and supplies a steady flow of pure oxygen. By the end of the process, the bacteria have converted the unsettleable materials into more bacteria. "We are mimicking what occurs natu- rally in the ecosystem," Turhollow said. The effluent then flows into outdoor tanks known as secondary clarifying tanks that measure 150 feet in diameter. There, the bacteria that makes up nearly all of the "biomass" in the water sinks to the bottom. The decanted clear liquid on top is 90-95% cleansed of pollutants. "The biological reactors and clarifying tanks are the back bone of the treatment plant. We have to maintain the ratio of the oxygen that the bacteria breathe to the amount of food coming in to the number of bacteria," Turhollow said. After clarification, the composition of the secondary effluent is compatible with the marine environment. Approximately Story con on p.19 ORLY THE ONE AND ONLY MATCI-IMAKER WHAT IS THE MEDIA SAYING ABOLrI" ORLY? f. Nt-, with David Goddow -I" ), [, ,'l UnilltlC [X'(i'l,li I1Li hln:lkcr...' 11 Roseam Show ( ):t' l,m a m:l:dmiakcr+ + Sally Jesse Ilal'el Shos+ "t ).#..} .+, ',i:ia+,,t, ,+ k++,tl2iv, xl I < |h+," 1  t ' l,d +, - AM I .aleles Sho" +Or]  t hctal., v, cr<: l;iar."i<+\\; ] h'.,: n lh,: i;,' Eyewitness ."ev, (AIIC) lima Storming Y,s (] :l'a-', !+Jnakvr in :i It, n 50'dock Ne "(),I L% :Igl{ll)l',,li . ;+ilk] llllt+rlKlii(l,"l, iilg kflx 12, " Montl Williams ,Show "()dy'- ttl ;rt- im?iy It,p ill ti;': h'k" " Cleveland Tonight Show "Od,, a l(>ich ( da,, + + CouJrll' Newt, Challlilel +t)d) i i'tt4tl+lLiglic' t id!', " ! Northt .Show+ "( )f",% ;ill(hi ff {ti flllttil).'.' tl+r pt-rltxl'i! - Gd Eting 5enttk. Show +,t. )i"I',, 1, ,in m t*lliR+nl in (mr |tiltirt, . r mmi Pt- Sho., Cam, "Od' l,.+:,nahm ,,'r;,. hm.kcr " ISaxm +s Jt'h 1".%, Network I)r) i:-,i a::ll nl;lITI;i&" inlkt..." t;.sJi. Today Newspaper -Otis: nl.chc ,Ira + n,,,+l'+ and suctv-qul + (annimny Show, Dttaxflt NIIC Ening News "{dy i 111+ ROi RO.VCe ,X nlatdllr.tktng ." ?amrkanJomm Slm + -Oft',, a matdmker  ilh ,t itlll tl-- h Good Coakoany Slao,  "Od) is act, k+tzri.n, + ntchmakcr... "tkly liar', a rlmlch for the ",utqt" singk.- + t . rtmm -f)rly% ,,ldeo pe i taplixiting. " Looking for 4 Beverly Hills Weekly Please fa a Classified Sa Hourly wage Flexible hours x resume to 310.88 No calls please. les p e 7.0789