Local Company Turns Sewage Into Profit

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    When North County residents flush their toilets, most of them don't think about what happens next with their waste -- but one Carlsbad company is making a profit from it.

    When North County residents flush their toilets most of them don't think about what happens next.

    "That's a good thing," said Michael Hogan, general manager of the Encina Wastewater Authority in Carlsbad.

    But it is something Hogan thinks about -- it's his business.

    Currently the EWA treats 30 million gallons of wastewater a day, turning it into a solid material that resembles coal particles. Every day, four truckloads of it are then hauled to farmland in Yuma, Ariz., at an expense of $2.2 million, "and rising," Hogan said.

    A new part of the treatment facility is under construction in North County. Currently it is about 80 percent complete. When finished, it will take even more water out of the sludge and turn it into a different kind of solid substance that feels grainy and looks like fertilizer, Hogan said.

    The finished product can be used in biofuel or sold as fertilizer to be used on flower fields, golf courses and county parks. It could also be used in building materials according to Hogan.