The Donald C. Tillman Water Reclamation Plant recycles as much as 26 million gallons of wastewater per day, relieving the overburdened portions of LA’s wastewater collection system between the San Fernando Valley and The Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa Del Rey.
The plant’s main building is a series of concrete curves and sloped metal surfaces that evoke a feeling of the form being extruded from the structural members.
Swipe to the right please.
The buildings lines are complemented by the lake beneath it and by the traditional Japanese garden landscape it faces.
These little fishies will eventually make their way into Balboa Lake & the LA River.
The administration building by architect Anthony J. Lumsden is widely considered his finest work.
His sculptural and often futuristic designs can also be seen at the Hyperion Wastewater Treatment Plant, the LA Times Olympic printing plant, the Moscone Center, Ontario International Airport and the San Francisco Marriott (famous for its Flash Gordon-like postmodern jukebox shaped tower).
Leon Whiteson, Architecture Critic for The Los Angeles Times described Lumsden, “In the practice of architecture, it is rare to find a man who is both highly successful and widely respected by his peers. Anthony Lumsden, is that rare man.” By the general consent of colleagues and critics ranging from intensely opinionated minds like Britain’s Charles Jencks and Reyner Banham to practicing peers like Lou Naidorf, director of design for Welton Becket Associates, Lumsden is one of the best mainstream modernists in America, or anywhere.”
The Additional Valley Outfall Relief Sewer and East Valley Interceptor Sewer carry wastewater to Tillman from about 70% of the San Fernando Valley. The plant can treat up to 80 million gallons per day. About 40% of the 80 million gallon daily flow comes from commercial uses and 60% from residences.
Wastewater from the main sewer lines flow through grit channels where sand, rocks and grit are removed. These items settle to the bottom of the grit channels by gravity and centrifugal force.
After grit removal, the wastewater is lifted 30-feet by eight large-diameter screw pumps to the screening facility in the Headworks building. Screw pumps are more energy efficient than centrifugal or other types of pumps. The wastewater then flows by gravity through all the remaining treatment processes at the Plant.
Hard hats? Yes. Ear protection? No.
At the Headworks, bars and screens remove the largest solids – such as branches, plastics, and rags. Screening, along with grit removal, is called preliminary treatment.
Most of the solids (sludge) are removed here after they settle to the bottom of the covered primary tanks. All of the primary sludge flows back into the main sewer system where it is sent to the Hyperion Treatment Plant for further processing.
The remaining wastewater then flows by gravity to the secondary treatment system for further treatment. The primary tanks are covered to reduce odors but you can still smell it.
The best part about this tour was that I wasn’t kept on a tight leash like I was when touring the Hyperian plant. This makes picture taking much more enjoyable.
Bacteria are added to the aeration tanks for the nitrification-denitrification process. The bacteria feed off the organic wastes in the wastewater.
Oxygen is added in the nitrification process to speed up the bacteria’s rate of decomposition. The nitrification-denitrification process reduces the amount of nitrogen in the plant’s effluent. The wastewater, rich in activated sludge, then flows to the secondary clarifiers.
The second stage of secondary treatment involves the settling of activated sludge by gravity in the final settling tanks, or secondary clarifiers. A portion of this settled activated sludge is returned to the aeration tanks (returned activated sludge, or RAS) to maintain biological equilibrium in the aeration tank, while the remaining portion is discharged/wasted (waste activated sludge, or WAS) to the sewer. All of the waste activated sludge flows to the Hyperion Treatment Plant for further processing.
A time of reflection.
You def hope you won’t have to use this during your tour, that shit would suck.
Second Floor – Shit, shit and even more shit.
Time to disinfect.
Disinfection is a two-step process. Liquid bleach (sodium hypochlorite) is added to the wastewater, which kills any remaining pathogens or disease-carrying organisms.
The chlorine-containing water remains in the last set of holding tanks at the plant for about two hours. The water is then dechlorinated (with sodium bisulfite) to protect fish and other aquatic wildlife.
Over 25 million gallons per day of reclaimed water is produced at the plant. About 2.5 million gallons per day are recycled at the plant for treatment processes, landscape irrigation, cooling of plant equipment, air conditioning, and other applications. Over 23 million gallons per day are recycled to the three nearby lakes, the Japanese Garden Lake, the Wildlife Lake and the Balboa Recreation Lake. The remainder of the Plant’s treated water is discharged directly to the Los Angeles River. The plant’s discharge, combined with the outfall from the three lakes, provides a minimum of 20 million gallons per day to the Los Angeles River for support of the river’s riparian habitat. So why did they build a Japanese Garden within the grounds of the wastewater treatment plant? Read my post A Poo-tiful Japanese Garden to find out.