ICS Magazine

A Reaffirmation of Responsibility

May 18, 2006

Back in March I was invited to join the Los Angeles Chapter of the Carpet & FabriCare Institute on a tour of the Hyperion Treatment Plant in Playa del Rey, one of the most technologically advanced wastewater treatment plants in the world. Serving 2.7 million people, the plant processes an average of 360 millions gallons per day, with a capacity of 450 MGD (at peak wet weather periods, flows up to 1 billion gallons per day can be handled for short periods).

Hyperion is a 144-acre engineering marvel, all concrete, steel and hard surfaces. No one was going to be sucking rugs, to be sure, so why was the CFI there? The tour was held on a Wednesday, in the middle of the day, prime working hours; barring an unexpected lottery win, this was not an outing that would be padding the bottom line for anyone in attendance. So what was the attraction?

Call it a sense of responsibility. The tour was arranged by L.A. Chapter Director Matthew Sanders of Ecostar, Inc., for the sole purpose of providing an answer to the question, "Why is it important where I dump my waste tank?"

It doesn't matter what shade of green your chemicals and equipment are if the filth and muck being dragged up out of the carpet and other floor coverings is being ejected out into the gutter at the end of the job. I don't know about you, but I've had enough late nights/early mornings in my life to have passed by a cleaning crew or two leaving a downtown high-rise, and it would take more fingers and toes than I have to count the number of portable extractors I've seen being emptied onto the street. A good many of those incidents can be chalked up to lazy workers, I'm sure, but the rest...? Time is money, after all, and proper disposal can eat up the clock, especially when the next job is only two buildings down. It's just a little dirty water, after all. Right?

The CFI should be commended for taking the time and the initiative to provide some insight into proper wastewater disposal. "I didn't know" is often cited as a reason for a particular action or inaction; it's a good thing, then, that there are organizations like the CFI making sure education continues to hold an important place in the industry.