The Living Machine

The Living Machine
By: Meredith and Leah
Main Goal
The main goal of the living machine is to be a
sustainable alternative to conventional waste
It also provides an
opportunity from its
simulation of
Everyday two million tons of human waste is
disposed of in water courses
Less then 1% of the water supply is available for
human consumption.
In developing nations, 90% of sewage is dumped
untreated into usable water supplies.
1.2 billion people do not have access to safe
drinking water
More then 25,000 people die each day from water
related illnesses.
Traditional systems
Traditional systems:
Use environmentally harmful chemicals
Create toxic sludge
Are energy intensive
And often dispose
improperly of toxic
“Making a Difference”
Can provide cost effective onsite treatment
systems to prevent waste from polluting rivers
and other water sources.
Can be installed in places where traditional
treatment plants are not able to go
Reduces the need to draw on precious water
supplies for such things as irrigation and toilet
Economic potential in methane gas production
and cultivation of plants able to grow in
solutions provided by the machine
What it does
The living machine takes wastewater and
purifies it to a point where it can be directly
discharged into waterways or can be recycled
It does so by
utilizing a set of
created ecologies
Each system is
depending on the
type of wastewater it will treat.
How it works
Anaerobic settling tank – this tank allows solids
to fall out of the wastewater and sink to the
bottom allowing it to become clearer.
A Biofilter of bark and other soil-like materials –
this is the first filtration and first step to help
reduce the odor
Photosynthetic algae tank
–fix oxygen back into the
water and provide organic
food (dead algae)
for respiration
How it works cont’d
Higher plants (typically water hyacinth) in
aerobic tanks grow in a nutrient solution -provide
a stable environment for microbes and remove
heavy metals from the water.
Microbes are an ideal source of food for plankton
which are ideal sources for filter feeding fish
This creates the ability for detritus-feeding fish to
be added in later tanks so they may consume the
larger sections of the treated sludge.
Technological obstacles
Most living machines require a greenhouse or
other structure to protect it from colder weather.
Minimal exposure to the environment so it has
been unable to become a true ecosystem with
natural selection and self-design and
Political/Economic obstinacies
The psychological effect of being able to
drink your own wastewater.
Traditional wastewater treatments have been
embedded into our economy.
The living system could have difficulty
breaking through the mass scale of traditional
Costly to construct
Negative environmental
If pollution occurs it is due to improper or
incomplete design of the Living Machine