The Hyperion waste water treatment plant is the biggest of its kind on the west coast of North America. It has to be— the plant deals with 95% of Los Angeles’ sewage, which totals about 450 million gallons per day, brought from up to 55 miles away through a 6500-mile-long structure of pipes. Not only does the facility handle all this waste— it also uses the sewage to supply most of its own energy needs.
Approximately 85% of the energy that Hyperion needs to run is generated using methane gas. Waste water, when it first reaches the plant, is kept for up to 2 hours in sealed tanks with an anaerobic species of bacteria. Constantly agitated, the mixture ferments, producing carbon dioxide and methane gases. The methane is then collected and used to generate electricity.
The waste water then goes on to be further treated by another species of microbe, which eats the remaining organic matter in an environment supplemented with 96% pure oxygen. The result: water so clean that you can comfortably swim in the ocean, even right beside the sewage treatment plant.