What is a Living Machine?
A Living Machine is an advanced biofilter that has been designed to treat blackwater sewage. What demarks the living machine is the fact that it does the job of eliminating the human threat to our lakes, streams and oceans, through the purification of our raw sewage. For most people, the difference between whitewater greywater and blackwater is unknown. There are three things that make this innovative idea in biofiltration and wastewater management a real Living Machine, aesthetic appeal, reliable performance and high quality final effluent suitable for a variety of reuse applications.
Since the days of Rome and Constanople, when lead was first used to channel water and plumbing was born, and even before this, rivers have been sacrificed in the name of human convenience. But how convenient is it really to sacrifice a river? It is only convenient for those people living in small population up river. For others, however, it is not. Those who live downstream, and those who inherit the earth, learned to pollute the earth’s drinking water supply, in such a way as if to say that it was not a problem. But it is.
Living Machines do the same job nature would do (if we gave her the chance). Take blackwater (also known as sewage) and return it to its natural whitewater state (unpolluted by human waste). Greywater is that which only contains water from household drains such as the shower, the laundry room, the sink and even roof water. But once human organic wastes have come in contact with water, it is unusable by any complex living organisms. But Nature is perfect, and in her living self, microorganisms just love blackwater. In fact, microorganisms like it so much that they are the basis for the Living Machine. The process goes: anaerobic septic tank, anoxic reactor, closed aerobic tank (with plants to filter gases), open aerobic tank(s) (with snails, shrimp and fish), sludge is redirected back to the septic tank (or composted), while water goes to a wetland (usually indoor); finally it is ready for returning to the environment. A wonderful composting and irrigational product has been achieved, and Mother Earth is happy. And if further treated properly (without chemicals) studies show that the water could even be consumed more safely than when first polluted.
Biomechanical, a Living Machine is part nature part machine, without the Star Trek sci-fi fantasy. Living Machines are very practical and very real. As the Living Machine is a patented term and always needs to be spelled with capitals, we can quickly go over why. First of all, beauty… A Living Machine is first and foremost a philosophical attempt to unite human custom (unethical as they are), and the perfection of Mother Nature into harmony with each other. This environmentally sound and ecologically correct method of human wastewater management is reliable and efficient as its performance is 100%. When properly designed and constructed to suit individual or community needs, all Living Machines guarantee a safe, reliable, and high quality effluent. The uses of this Living Machine effluent range from the large scale crop irrigation to the small scale bathroom shower.
With our current usage of drinking water, and the approach of an ever growing ignorant next generation, new strategies must be found to deal with this looming and decadent downward spiral into the abyss of a chaotic and desolate future of sadness and sorrow. Living Machines are a desperate cry for hope and imagination in a pragmatic world that has been beaten down by generations of pessimists and down to earth traditionalist who “know Mr. Reality”. But Mr. Reality is not who these specialists expect.
Living Machines are a way to correct bad human habits that date back to the invention of plumbing and the scarification of rivers as waste management. The biggest dilemma is teaching people the difference between whitewater greywater and blackwater. Whitewater is clean and drinkable, greywater is not drinkable, but not highly polluted either, while blackwater has come in contact with human fecal material and is unfit for return to the environment without proper treatment (as it is an extremely dangerous pollutant). Living Machines are beautiful, dependable and insure a safe discharge of previously contaminated blackwaters into useful and efficient grey and white water. The Living Machine is not just a whimsical dream… The Living Machine is the future and the cutting edge of a dawning scientific revolution.