Fortune

TURNING WASTE INTO GOLD (OR COPPER)

DC Water needs costly infrastructure—pipes, especially—and the utility is finding creative, entrepreneurial ways to pay for it.
DC Water’s waste-treatment facilities, with its digesters at rear.

THE WATER AUTHORITY in Washington, D.C., receives 1,500 wet tons of sewage into its wastewater-treatment facility each day. CEO George Hawkins views it as liquid gold—an ingredient for a moneymaking operation that could help pay for repairs to its aging infrastructure. His agency, DC Water, cooks, sterilizes, and turns that sewage into a soil fertilizer called Bloom, which began shipping this spring to nurseries and garden centers in the

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