WHAT'S THE BIG PICTURE?
Wastewater treatment facilities are major feats of engineering, able to process the waste of entire cities. However this technological marvel doesn't come without a cost: these facilities are located on the outskirts of society and can be unwelcoming and odorous environments. Some coastal cities discharge treated effluent into the ocean, taking water resources far from where they are needed.
Conventional wastewater treatment uses a variety of physical, chemical, biological and industrial processes to separate clean water from contaminants. These systems consume substantial amounts of energy and can be difficult to maintain. In many places, older water water treatment plants are major polluters, discharging to fragile water bodies.
At Nu Ecological Engineering and Design we are re-imaging wastewater treatment and working to replace an industrial process with an ecological process compatible with human habitation and beneficial to the natural world.
We are also reimagining wastewater treatment plants as a pleasant place you might want to visit, breath deeply and perhaps sit and read a book for while.
Greenhouse-based ecological wastewater treatment systems harness the power of plants, organisms and ecosystems to treat wastewater so that it can be recycled on site or safely discharged to the environment.
Smaller, decentralized treatment systems like this one, designed for a high school in California, keep water near where it is needed and treat wastewater to level suitable for reuse, agriculture or safe discharge into the environment.
The bio-diverse environments created for ecological wastewater treatment are safe and welcoming spaces for visitors and students.
Many of these systems are used as living classrooms for students of all ages, offering an opportunity for connecting with the water cycle and the magic of aquatic ecosystems.