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U.S. EPA approves Los Angeles’ experimental permit to inject treated sewage sludge under Terminal Island

Release Date: 12/20/2006
Contact Information: Margot Perez-Sullivan, 415.947.4149,

LOS ANGELES – Following a 40-day public comment period, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently approved the city of Los Angeles’ permit to inject treated sewage sludge nearly a mile below the ground beneath its Terminal Island Treatment Plant in San Pedro, Calif.

The permit allows the city, over a five-year period, to drill three wells -- one injection and two to monitor the effectiveness of the project - pumping up to 400 tons of treated sewage sludge per day to evaluate potential benefits of using fracture injection technology. The potential benefits of this experiment include safety of disposal, generating significant quantities of methane for future energy use and permanent carbon dioxide sequestration. This project will not affect drinking water supplies.

Work is expected to begin early in 2007.

This experimental permit allows the city of Los Angeles to pursue an alternative to its current practice of applying its treatment plant treated sewage sludge to agricultural fields in Kern County. About 500 tons of treated sewage sludge is trucked daily to its farm in Kern County where the material is applied as fertilizer for non-food crops.

The EPA sent its response to those who commented on the draft permit, and also posted the responses, along with the final permit itself, on the Web site at: