Recycling center employees sorting through materials | Still from SoCal Connected episode, "Life in Plastic: California's Recycling Woes"

Treated Human Waste as Fertilizer?

When Angelenos flush their toilets, where does all that waste go?

Sewage sludge accumulated by more than four million residents in Los Angeles is extracted and treated at the Hyperion Treatment Plant, the city's largest and oldest wastewater treatment facility. There, human waste is processed and treated over the span of two weeks. In part, it entails screening for foreign objects, separating liquids from solids, and killing off pathogens at a specific temperature.

The goal: create biosolids for a variety of purposes, including fertilizer that's deemed safe under regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And approximately 75 percent of those biosolids -- that's 500 tons a day! -- are loaded on trucks headed to Kern County.

But not everyone is on board. In 2006, voters in Kern County passed a ballot measure intended to ban the process of depositing L.A.'s biosolids at the city of L.A.'s Green Acres Farm. But eight years later, the dumping debate still continues.

In this segment of "SoCal Connected," reporter Derrick Shore delves into the process of where our waste goes and the controversies surrounding it.

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Enrique C. Zaldivar, director, L.A. City Bureau of Sanitation
  • Diane Gilbert Jones, L.A. City Bureau of Sanitation
  • Blake Sanden, UC Co-op Extension farm advisor
  • Beau Antongiovanni, farmer
  • Larry Antongiovanni, farmer
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The Fight to Know

In the beginning of 2019, California, one of the nation’s most secretive states when it comes to police files, put Senate Bill 1421 into effect. The new law made public thousands of police records pertaining to police dishonesty, sexual assault and use of force. And in an unprecedented move, forty news groups partner to dig into these once-secret police files. But even after a year into the new transparency law, journalists and the public are realizing that the law has its limits when it comes to investigating police misconduct.

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Life In Plastic: California’s Recycling Woes

As California deals with the fallout of a global waste crisis, plastic manufacturers continue to spread misleading information about recycling, while spending big on lobbying efforts to keep their products on the shelves.

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Who Killed Josiah?

A Humboldt town is polarized over allegations of racism and police incompetence surrounding the death of college student Josiah Lawson. 

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Born to Run

The Los Angeles Jets youth track and field club is one of the oldest and most established running teams in California. It was founded in South Los Angeles in 1973 by then West Vernon Elementary school teacher Ron Moore.  Five years later James Robertson and Booker Woods joined as coaches and the team became one of the largest co-ed running groups in the city.

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Access Denied

An investigation reveals how the state and many cities have let developers get away for decades with not paying their fair share when they replace affordable lodging with luxury hotels up and down California’s coast.

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Under Pressure

Parents are willing to spend thousands to get the competitive edge in the college admissions process, but at what cost? Socal Connected takes a revealing look at the high stakes world of the for-profit education consultant business.

The following changes were made to the original episode:
Students featured in the #decisionday section were replaced with new photos.

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