A Living Machine system is a wastewater/sewerage processing system that employs a staged hydroponics system using living plants and microorganisms for waste processing and water purification. Systems are designed for any combination of greywater, blackwater, and rainwater processing and they can also be used as the basis of Natural Pool systems where they function as living water filters for chemical-free swimming pools. A living Machine is, to a large extent, an artificial marshland using species of plants from different marsh zones.
There are two basic variants of the Living Machine; simple constructed wetland and complex constructed wetland. The difference between these two is that the simple constructed wetland type employs primarily plant-based processing using low-profile containers and is suitable for all-outdoor use. The complex constructed wetland employs deep transparent above-ground/deck tanks that incorporate fish, water insects, and shelfish as part of the system. This is also referred to as a ‘solar aquatics’ system and may include solar concentrators around its transparent tanks. They are generally used only within a greenhouse enclosure. Though high in performance, they are high in maintenance.
The Utilihab Living Machine system is a modular component Living Machine platform based on a five stage form of the simple constructed wetland model designed to accommodate the modest waste output of an individual home and can be adapted for use with greywater systems, rainwater catchment, and Natural Pools. It is based on a combination of components including those of the Modular Greywater System, the Rainwater Catchment System, and in/above deck container gardening and pool units.
•The first stage of the system starts with a septic tank serving as an anerobic reactor stage.
•The second stage is an Irrigation Pump Well/Tank unit with aerator that functions as a closed aerobic reactor as well as a surge and recirculation tank for overflow from the other stages.
•The third stage is an open aerobic reactor stage called a Tidal Flow Wetland Zone and consists of a series of deep containers with a constructed marsh where water levels are periodically raised and lowered. This stage integrates to greywater diversion systems.
•The fourth stage is called a Vertical Flow Wetland Zone and consists of shallower larger surface area containers with a constant fluid level. This zone integrates to rainwater run-off systems and natural pool filtering.
•The fifth stage is a sanitizer stage using an in-line UV sanitizer outputting to a Clearwater Storage Unit tank. From here the processed greywater quality water can be reused for landscape irrigation, gardening/farming, toilet flushing, hot tubs and pools, and other non-potable water uses.
In addition to these elements is a flow control computer which employs a series of level, flow, and temperature sensors to monitor the state of the system. This can be elaborated with other kinds of automatic state monitoring such as solar insolation, PH, and so on. Living Machine systems are generally passive in operation but in their early stages of use -when the plants they host are not fully developed- they can go through a period of tuning based on control of fluid flow through each of the stages. Temperature and solar insolation plays an important role in performance of a LIving Machine and during some weather conditions active intervention can be necessary to maintain the system. Of course, even these very passive systems need routine maintenance and automatic state monitoring can help determine a good routine given a particular location and environmental conditions.