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Terminal Island Treatment Plant: Advancing Water Treatment Technology

About our plant

intro photoThe Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant/Advanced Water Treatment Facilities are located 20 miles south of downtown Los Angeles in San Pedro. The plant treats wastewater from over 130,000 people and 100 businesses in the heavily industrialized Los Angeles Harbor area, including the communities of Wilmington, San Pedro, and a portion of Harbor City.

The plant has recently become the third Los Angeles wastewater treatment plant to produce reclaimed water and one of the few plants in the country that produce water using reverse osmosis.

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How it works


This exceptional quality water will soon be used as a potable water replacement in Harbor area industrial applications and as a barrier against seawater intrusion. The plant also produces biosolids and biogas for beneficial reuse.

At a glance:

Location445 Ferry Street, Los Angeles
ServesTerminal Island, Wilmington, San Pedro, and a portion of Harbor City
Started operating1935
Plant manager
Douglas Bohlmann

Number of employees
Annual budget
$9.6 million (FY 08/09)
Treatment processes
Tertiary treatment and microfiltration-reverse osmosis, biosolids handling, biogas generation
Reuse data
50 wet tons of bioslids trucked per day to Green Acres Farm in Kern County, 239,000 cubic feet per day of biogas – used to produce steam for the digesters
Contact us:

(310) 548-7520


The Early Years

The Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant was built in 1935 and has undergone numerous improvements and upgrades in 1977, 1981, and 1997 to comply with increasingly stringent State and federal clean water regulations.

In 1977 the treatment plant upgraded its facilities so that all wastewater could be treated to the secondary level. This upgrade also included this country’s first egg‑shaped digesters for processing sludge to beneficial biosolids.

In 1997 the plant was upgraded to the tertiary treatment level, allowing the plant to distribute reclaimed water for reuse in the Harbor area. These were major steps toward improving the health of the Harbor and ocean environments.

The transformation to Advanced Wastewater Treatment Facilities

In 1985 the Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted an order requiring cessation of TITP’s effluent discharge to the Harbor.

The Department of Public Works grappled with the decision of whether to construct a new, conventional deep-water ocean outfall to discharge Terminal Island’s secondary effluent outside the Los Angeles Harbor, or to try something completely “outside of the box”.

The City decided to install one of the world’s most technologically advanced water reclamation treatment systems. In 1995, the Departments of Public Works, Water and Power, Environmental Affairs, Recreation and Parks and the Harbor Department agreed to develop a facility that would include microfiltration followed by reverse osmosis technology. Construction was completed on the $23 million project in 2002.
The new facility is capable of processing 4.5 MGD and the water meets all drinking water quality standards. Today it is used as valuable boiler feed water for local industries, saving millions of gallons of potable water each day.