Tour the Hyperion Treatment Plant and Environmental Learning Center

Erin Mahoney Harris

community news

After the Hyperion Treatment Plant tour, visit Hyperion’s Environmental Learning Center to learn about saving water and reducing pollution. PHOTOS BY ERIN MAHONEY HARRIS

Who hasn’t wondered what happens after you flush the toilet? You and the kids can find detailed answers – and even see for yourselves – at the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant near Dockweiler Beach. If that sounds like a less-than-appealing prospect, consider this: The Hyperion facility processes 340 million gallons of wastewater daily and is one of the largest treatment plants in the world. The scale alone makes this marvel of engineering a sight worth seeing. And you even get to wear a hardhat!

Your tour begins with a tram ride around the facility, offering an overview of the wastewater treatment process from start to finish. Perhaps the most impressive part is watching the huge screening machinery that removes inorganic matter from the water. Ten tons of debris are removed daily through this process. Yes, it stinks, but it could be a lot worse. White pipes running throughout the grounds house “air scrubbers” to keep the odor from being overwhelming.

The tour is highly informative. Your guide will explain how biosolids are produced from the solid waste and used to fertilize a giant Central Valley farm that grows animal feed, and how the fully treated water is eventually pumped five miles through a 12-foot diameter concrete pipe to the bottom of the ocean.

After the tour, you can explore the impressive Environmental Learning Center, a state-of-the-art mini museum with hands-on exhibits that demonstrate the process in more detail and offer plenty of tips on how we can all save water and reduce waste and pollution in our daily lives.

The Hyperion Treatment Plant is located at 12000 Vista del Mar, L.A., and is open to visitors by appointment only from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays. Call 310-648-5000 or email ahead to arrange a tour, and be aware that all visitors must be 9 or older. You can also take an interesting virtual tour at

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