Photo Source: Wired.com
Jim Fouts, the mayor of Warren, Michigan, a suburb just outside of Detroit, says that our aging water infrastructure is a “a ticking time bomb that’s ready to go off.” A report by the EPA cites that repairing and renovating public water systems will require $334.8 billion over two decades. And as lawmakers debate over banking reform or universal health care, it appears that our nation’s pressing water issues will not be addressed from a policy level.
Enter the Living Machine. Worrell Water Technologies’ Living Machine system works with existing building and municipal water infrastructures to clean wastewater for reuse. It utilizes planned wetlands, often times trees in the lobby of a building, using soil, bacteria, and “specially engineered films of beneficial microorganisms” to kill pathogens in the water.
Wired recently covered the Living Machine system (the tech mag also made the really cool infographic above), and according to the article: “Everybody likes trees, but (aesthetics aside) sending poop from the bathroom to the lobby may seem sort of icky. In environmental terms, though, it’s a solid choice.”
Just as solar PVs or wind turbines can help reduce a building’s dependance on the power grid, “living machines take strain off the pipes and municipal wastewater facilities on the ‘sewage grid,’” added the Wired article.
Since the Living Machine is intended to clean water for reuse on site, the company claims it can make a huge difference in water consumption. According to its website, 95% of a building’s consumption is due to toilet flushing and irrigation, areas where the Living Machine operates.
Several schools, animal shelters, as well as the Esalen Institute in Big Sur have already installed Living Machines at their campuses. A zoo in the Netherlands had water bills drop by 84% after installing the Living Machine.
You can check out a pretty neat (albeit completely promotional) video on the Living Machine in action here.