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Slowing a tide of pollutants

One of the 1,150 milking cows on Dykstra Dairy in the Chino Valley, takes a break from the feeding lane. Dykstra Dairy is one of a half dozen in the area that gives it’s manure to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, in a manure-to-methane program to generate electricity. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
A two-man crew aboard a tractor nudge Holsteins out of the way to make room for a honey vac that mops up the slurry of manure from feeding lanes. This manure is trucked to the Inland Empire Utilities Agency to produce methane as an alternative fuel. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
A worker at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency cradles some of the residual manure emerging from the agency’s methane digester. Bacteria breaks down the manure and creates methane, which the agency uses to generate electricity. The residual manure is shipped off for composting and then sold as high-quality fertilizer. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
The Inland Empire Utilities Agency is building two more “methane digesters” to wrest energy from excrement. Local dairies contribute manure to the project that heats the slurry to enable bacteria to break down the manure and create methane, which is in turn used as an alterative fuel. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
A construction worker puts finishing touches on one of the new tanks to be used as a “methane digester,” extracting energy from manure. Dairies are slowly being pushed out of the Chino Valley by high land prices and advancing suburbia. The Inland Empire Utilities Agency will be able to use human sewage sludge to generate methane when the cows are gone. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
A vacuum tanker, known as a “honey vac,” dumps its slurry of manure siphoned out of feeding lands at Dykstra Dairy in the Chino Valley, San Bernardino County. This manure was then transported by tanker truck to a methane digester operated by the Inland Empire Utilities Agency, where its methane generates electricity. (Rick Loomis / LAT)
A Santa Monica maintenance crew scoops trash that is collected from one of the city’s storm drains. Santa Monica tries to capture all of this wastewater from the city’s streets before it can reach Santa Monica Bay. (Rick Loomis / LAT)