Los Angeles Announces Plan to Recycle All Of Its Wastewater

March 6, 2019

Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles plans to recycle 100% of the city’s wastewater by 2035 with $2 billion

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has a new goal for the city, recycling 100% of its wastewater. However, it will take 16 years and $2 billion to do it.

According to LAist, the plan will involve upgrading the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant, the largest such facility in the western U.S. The plant is the city’s oldest and largest wastewater treatment facility, and is roughly the size of Disneyland. It processes 260 million gal of wastewater every day, recycling roughly a quarter of that, according to LAist.

Right now, roughly 75% of the water from the plant is not drinkable and just ends up back in the ocean. Garcetti said this plan would change that.

"We will sell it to neighboring cities, including El Segundo and West Hollywood and Santa Monica and use it for the city of L.A. It gives us everyday almost a quarter billion gallons that we can use for landscaping or putting back into the aquifer for drinking water," he said to LAist.

According to the site, the city's Bureau of Sanitation estimates the improvements at the plant will cost about $2 billion to reach the mayor's goal by 2035.

"Los Angeles is confident in its ability to finance this project largely through federal and state funding, and plans to supplement these funds through city cash or bond money," mayor's office officials said in a statement.

The mayor thinks the state could supply all of the money for the project, according to the site.

"We're not raising anybody's taxes to do all of this because we can sell the water, it'll pay for itself. But to finance it up front and to build out the infrastructure of the new pipes that will take water out of this plant and back into the system, we hope that the state will step up," he said to LAist.

The mayor’s office said the initial process at treatment plants puts recycled wastewater at “near-drinking water quality.” According to LAist, the water then travels to one of L.A.’s groundwater treatment replenishment facilities, where it’s filtered into the basin over time, mixing with the existing groundwater. The water is extracted and treated again at that groundwater facility "before it reaches drinking water quality and enters the water distribution system."

The Hyperion plant is one of L.A.'s four water treatment facilities. According to LAist, the other three — L.A. Glendale, Tillman and Terminal Island — are already at 100% recycled water capacity. City officials say they are confident they can do the same with Hyperion.

According to LAist, the mayor's office said the projects at that plant will "create good-paying engineering, construction, operations, and maintenance jobs.” However, there is no estimate of how many are available at this time.