Obscura Society LA: The Disneyland of Poop - Hyperion Water Treatment Plant - Atlas Obscura

Playa del Rey

Obscura Society LA: The Disneyland of Poop - Hyperion Water Treatment Plant

From toilet to tap, join us at the crappiest place on Earth (or at least, LA)

Have you ever stopped and wondered what happens when you flush your toilet? Where does everything go? Well, if you live in Los Angeles, it most likely goes to the Hyperion Water Treatment Plant, the largest treatment plant west of the Mississippi.  Or, as we have cleverly titled it, "The Disneyland of Poop." 

One of the ten largest wastewater treatment facilities in the world, Hyperion was also named an "American Public Works Association’s Top Public Works Projects of the Twentieth Century” alongside other epic civil engineering feats like the Panama Canal, Interstate Highway System and the Hoover Dam.

Operated by the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation, Hyperion has been dealing with your poop since 1925. The distinctive, red-and-white-striped steam stacks of the Scattergood Generating Station in Playa del Rey have been a local landmark since the very beginning. 

Join Obscura Society LA as we tour this facility via feet and tram. We will learn about the history of waste in Los Angeles. We will get up close and personal to the dripping Jaws of Sludge as they separate all manner of unidentifiable objects from the gray molasses. We will see how solid waste is converted into energy-producing methane gas and biomass.We will hear stories of large objects that made it through the sewer system such as a vehicles and utility poles.  But most of all, we will experience the smell - the smell of over three million residents' using the toilet. 

Notes for this adventure

- The tour will last approximately 2.5 hours and will include a visit to the newly built Environmental Learning Center at the plant.

-We will be walking the facility by tram and foot.  Closed-toed walking shoes are mandatory. We will be supplied with hard hats to wear.

-Photographs are quite encouraged in most areas, so please bring your camera! 

-Like other events we've done with secure facilities, it is required for us to send every visitor's full legal name in advance. On the day of the tour, they will check you in using your full legal name, so please bring a photo ID that matches.  

-We are not kidding about the smell. Stench levels will range from mild to quite gross. If you have a highly sensitive sense of smell, maybe this event isn't for you.