Washington, DC Sewage Plant Spins Human Poo into Fertilizer Gold

Nov 24, 2021

In Washington D.C., a sophisticated sewage treatment plant is turning the capital’s waste into a form of capital: living capital that is fertilizing the gardens of farms of the Mid-Atlantic region and saving vast quantities of resources.

Described by the workers’ there as a “resource recovery plant,” D.C. Water run a biogas plant and high-quality fertilizer production in the course of their dirty duty to ensure the city’s waste finds a safe endpoint.

The nation’s capital is exceptional at producing waste from the toilet bowls of the 2.2 million people who live, work, and commute through the city and its suburbs.


Reporting by Lina Zeldovich reveals that rather than trucking it all to a landfill, D.C. Water extract an awful lot of value from the capital crap, by looking at it as a resource to send through the world’s largest advanced wastewater treatment plant, which uses a “thermal hydrolysis process” in which it is sterilized, broken down, and shipped off for processing into “Bloom,” a nitrogen-rich, slow-release fertilizer product. 

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