Body Parts Found in L.A. County Water Treatment Facilities

Updated at the bottom with human remains at two facilities being related, belonging to a female. First posted at 2:48 p.m.

This is gross.

Human remains were found in an L.A. County wastewater treatment facility today. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department announced the discovery.

Detectives were called to the facility in an unincorporated area of the county known as ...

... Bassett, Avocado Heights or Whittier, depending on whom you ask, at 9:26 a.m., according to a Sheriff's statement.

The remains were found at a Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County wastewater treatment facility, according to CBS Los Angeles. The address the Sheriff's department gave is the 1900 block of Workman Mill Road.


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Now, is this water that ends up back in our faucets, and should we be concerned? We called the L.A. County Department of Public Health for its take on that, but a representative had yet to get back to us.

We also reached out to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County but had no better luck.

The county does reclaim wastewater with a rigorous, three-step process, and we can imagine there are worst things than body parts being weeded out of our sewage. The county boasts that it runs "the largest engineered wastewater recycling program in the world."

On Saturday, remains were found at another county wastewater treatment facility, this one in Carson. According to the sheriff's department, the parts "were recovered from a bin that holds debris separated from sewage water."

Both discoveries were being investigated by homicide detectives. Sheriff's officials said coroner's investigators would determine the sex, age and ID of the victims, if possible.

[Added at 3:03 p.m.]: A spokesman for the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County told us that the water from the Workman Mill Road facility does end up in the water supply. But the remains were found in an early stage of the treatment process, he said, indicating that there should be no health concerns.

The Carson facility does not send wastewater back into the system, the official said. Because the Carson facility sometimes deals with industrial waste, the product, while well-treated, ends up in the ocean, he said.

[Update at 3:18 p.m.]: Assistant Chief Ed Winter of the L.A. County Department of Coroner says his investigators received initial reports that the discovery at the Workman Mill Road complex involved a possible upper torso.

In Carson, he said, the remains included a pelvis and legs. Here's what he said:

We're not sure if they're related.

We'll keep you posted.

[Update at 4:36 p.m.]: Sheriff's officials say the Workman Mill Road remains belong to a female and that they are indeed related to the Carson remains. Here's part of a statement sent out this afternoon by the L.A. County Sheriff's Department:

The torso is believed to be related to the human remains found in a water treatment plant in the 24500 block of South Figueroa Street, Carson, on Saturday, October 26, 2013.

[Added at 10:28 p.m.]: A sheriff's detective told reporters outside the Workman Mill Road facility today that the woman's body could have been dumped into a manhole in the San Gabriel Valley and ended up in the wastewater network, where it might have been dismembered as materials are separated by the system.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.


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