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Letters: Wastewater isn't 'waste'

November 30, 2012

Re "Tired of L.A.'s urban waste," Nov. 26

It's wrong to call wastewater biosolids "waste." There's no waste in wastewater, and the faster we look at reusing every aspect of this resource, the better. At the Hyperion Sewage Treatment Plant near LAX, biosolids are carefully cleaned to the highest standards. Gas produced during this process is recovered and utilized to generate electricity.

Biosolids are some of the richest fertilizer available — rich in phosphorous and nitrogen worth millions of dollars to farmers. These nutrients are returned to farmland, right to where they started. That's recycling. Yes, it's yucky. Yes, we know no one wants to think about poop — but someone has to.

In the L.A. basin, 4 million pounds of biosolids are safely recycled and nearly 1 billion gallons of wastewater are purified every day. Los Angeles' biosolids program is a national model for the safe, clean and proper recycling of our natural resources.

Carrie Mattingly

Oakland

The writer is president of the California Water Environment Assn.

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