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  • Jeanne Rosenmeier

Poop! Follow the wastewater

We love waste! In this episode, we tour the sewage processing plant of the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District. But wait - there's more! It turns out that there are a multiplicity of wastewater districts in the Bay Area, and every one of them treats its sewage a little bit differently. So we did a little comparison. Join us as we follow your poop from the flush to the Bay, with a side excursion to see how the various sanitary districts are getting value from it.

Contra Costa Central San has its processing plant in Martinez. The slide show below follows the public tour from the giant filters at the headworks (intake) to the final disinfection.

And check out one last thing: the incinerator. With a great view of a snowy Mt. Diablo!

The birds love the settling ponds too, as you may have noticed in the slide show.

Central San is exceptionally open to the public. You can join their quarterly public tours, or a once-a-year in-depth exploration of the process. Our thanks to Ben Lavender for leading the tour, and patiently answering my questions, and to Chris Carpenter for giving me a deeper insight into what we saw. Here's the plant's website.

East Bay Municipal Utility District also has a very welcoming website, with a nice virtual plant tour.

San Francisco PUC's sewage processing is something else (of course!). It is the only combined system on the west coast that treats both rainwater and wastewater in the same system. This has its upside - and its downside, as some local residents learned this winter.

Another large local system is Central Marin Sanitary Agency.

And an intriguing tiny local district in Martinez, the Mount View Sanitary District:

Silicon Valley Clean Water collects wastewater from a number of peninsula districts.

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