Southern California environment news and trends

I nerd out with EPA's new greenhouse gas database so you don't have to

(Piotr Fajfel/Oxfam)net_efekt/Flickr

Carbon footprints designed by Christian Guthier for a climate change campaign at the UN Global Climate Change conference in Poznan.

It's a start, anyway. Today, the Environmental Protection Agency releases a new national greenhouse gas database, made up of self-reported data from 9 groups of polluters around the country: refineries, power plants, chemical facilities, "other industrial" facilities, landfills, metals, minerals, pulp and paper plants, and government and commercial sites. We've got plenty of those here, and it's a fun tool to play around with if you're interested in the climate impacts of industry.

Though it probably won't surprise you. Let's give it up for the BP Carson refinery…which reported 3,960,504 metric tons of carbon dioxide released and 492.652 metric tons of hydrogen produced in 2010. LA County's big footprint winner! Orange County can barely compete: combined GHG emissions for AES Huntington Beach, the biggest polluter behind the Curtain, are just over 14% of that: 572,203 metric tons of greenhouse gas released in 2010. 


Mmm, biosolids: Terminal Island Renewable Energy looking to re-up for a few more seasons


Hyperion Treatment Plant processes our biofluids. For the last 5 years, LA's been shooting them into the ground.

This is always the sort of topic that makes me want to talk like Homer Simpson. When you treat sewage and spit the water out one side, a spongy, sterilized byproduct comes out the other. That's "biosolids," and for the last 5 years, LA has been testing a new way to deal with them...a way that is, in fact, "the nation’s first full scale application of deep well injection technology." Explaining what that means is complicated but cool. 

All of the crap we send into sewers produces 1 million pounds of biosolids in southern California. The City of Los Angeles and specifically its Hyperion Treatment Plant can raise its hand and take credit for a quarter of that..."pathogen free, exceptional quality, Grade A biosolids." Some of those biosolids get composted in Griffith Park. And for 11 years much of those high-quality biosolids have been trucked to a field in Kern County and spread over non-food farmland. They serve as fertilizer for Green Acres Farm, a 4-thousand acre property near Bakersfield that LA bought specifically so that it could have land on which to spread solid waste. LA farms alfalfa and other feedstock grains that the city sells locally in Kern County.