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living machines?

 
tel jetson
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anyone have some good literature to recommend on the subject of living machines and their analogs?  I'm sort of muddling through and slowly figuring some things out on my own, but I would prefer to make use of the experience of others rather than repeat the same mistakes.

if "living machines" doesn't mean anything to you, I'm referring to purification of waste-water using plants, critters, bacteria, fungus, tanks, bio-reactors, et cetera.

I understand that "Living Machines" is now copyrighted, so if there are similar techniques going by other names, I'm interested in that as well.  I'm mostly after home-scale stuff, but I'm not too picky.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Anna Eddey has done quite a bit regarding wastewater purification with plants and worm bins:  http://www.solviva.com/wastewater.htm
 
Jeff Mathias
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Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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Hi Tel,

Check out the Bioneers, I believe they are doing the kinds of things you are looking for, often on a much larger scale as they seem to be focused on proving it can be done with nature and at a much reduced monetary cost compared to the standard industry responses. However all the solutions generally come from small scale testing in a lab environment for viability before being scaled up to meet the actual project so it should still be quite useful.

Jeff
 
Kirk Hutchison
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
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I hear some people purify grey-water that is trending towards black using "swamp monsters" (large pots filled with aquatic plants.
 
                              
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Location: Inland Central Florida, USA
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Perhaps now quite what you had in mind when you posted about living machines but have you heard of Aquaponics?
 
                                      
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Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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John Todd
Formerly of New Alchemy Institute

John Todd Ecological Design
http://www.toddecological.com/

Ocean Arks International
http://www.oceanarks.org/
 
charles c. johnson
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is your goal to drink your own black water ?
 
Kay Bee
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Location: Jackson County, OR (Zone 7)
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lots of the old New Alchemy Institute pubs are online for free:
http://www.thegreencenter.net/home.htm
 
tel jetson
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thanks, everybody.

dirtfarmer wrote:
John Todd
Formerly of New Alchemy Institute

stumbled onto todd ecological and ocean arks already.  some good information there.

TCLynx wrote:
Perhaps now quite what you had in mind when you posted about living machines but have you heard of Aquaponics?


I have.  and that toolbox should fit in quite nicely with what I'm trying to do.  both methods have a lot in common.  I'm avoiding pumps, though, so there isn't likely to be any re-circulation involved in what I end up with.

Kirk Hutchison wrote:
I hear some people purify grey-water that is trending towards black using "swamp monsters" (large pots filled with aquatic plants.


the designs I've started working on already are along those lines.  there are gravel reed beds involved as well.

justhavinfun wrote:
Check out the Bioneers


I guess I haven't tried that hard, but I haven't been able to track down much information on Bioneers wastewater treatment techniques.  any more specific direction you could point me in?

Ludi wrote:
Anna Eddey has done quite a bit regarding wastewater purification with plants and worm bins:  http://www.solviva.com/wastewater.htm


here website was light on details, but it gave me some new ideas.

thanks again and keep the recommendations coming.
 
Tyler Ludens
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tel jetson wrote:

here website was light on details, but it gave me some new ideas.


There's more information in her book, and you can buy plans from her, I think.

 
Mekka Pakanohida
Posts: 383
Location: Zone 9 - Coastal Oregon
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tel jetson wrote:
anyone have some good literature to recommend on the subject of living machines and their analogs?  I'm sort of muddling through and slowly figuring some things out on my own, but I would prefer to make use of the experience of others rather than repeat the same mistakes.

if "living machines" doesn't mean anything to you, I'm referring to purification of waste-water using plants, critters, bacteria, fungus, tanks, bio-reactors, et cetera.

I understand that "Living Machines" is now copyrighted, so if there are similar techniques going by other names, I'm interested in that as well.  I'm mostly after home-scale stuff, but I'm not too picky.


The question here is what is the goal.  It would be easy for me to write a multipart explanation on how you can make a filter system using nothing but nature to convert your grey or black water back to healthy, usable, loving, nurturing water.

Then there are the routes that include things like RO (Reverse Osmosis), UV Lighting, Organic Protien Skimming, and chemical filtration in addition to using things like flow forms or other Schuaberger based water technologies (or other people) to do it as well.

Need to focus in a little more to understand what you are looking to do.
 
tel jetson
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Pakanohida wrote:
The question here is what is the goal... Need to focus in a little more to understand what you are looking to do.


no problem.  I was hoping for some broad information to get an idea of what is plausible for me to accomplish given my restrictions.  the two most important restrictions are my extremely limited budget and a desire to retain nutrients and avoid ecological damage.

the situation is this: I built a small grey water system that handles sink water, shower water, and urine better each day as it matures.  the worm composting toilet I built for shit has worked wonderfully from the get go.  trouble is, there is now a travel trailer parked on the property and the inhabitants are not thrilled about trekking to the bathroom I built and am proud of, let alone using the outdoor kitchen and shower as things become colder and wetter around here.

so, ideally I would be treating two folks' black water and grey water in such a way as to capture nutrients and render them harmless.  if food and other useful material is produced along the way, all the better.

thinking about it so far, I figure that treating grey water separately then routing the purified result through a black water treatment system could work.  I'm imagining the whole thing being a series of plastic 55-gallon drums, as I've got a few of those laying around.  I think I've got a handle on the grey water alone, but the black water is a bit ambitious given my limited experience with the topic.

what I envision for the black water starts with a critter tank with a couple species of fish and snails to eat poop. the purified grey water would keep it from getting too shitty.  following that, the water would travel through a variety of aquatic plants and maybe some freshwater clams or mussels finally ending in a pond growing food plants and critters.

since winters are too cold for most things to grow around here, I would house the system in a greenhouse to keep temps up.


so, that's as far as I've gotten.  tear it apart.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Toolbox for Sustainable City Living has a whole section on constructed wetlands.

They give plans for a series of bathtubs, each of which has its overflow drain plumbed to a filter in the bottom of the next one. Theirs is fed by a laundry washing machine, and they have a surge tank to allow the water to cool, and slow the flow into the system.

They also have an extensive discussion of re-circulating and passive aquaponics. They only touch lightly on the treatment of blackwater, advocating thermophilic composting instead.
 
tel jetson
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Toolbox for Sustainable City Living has a whole section on constructed wetlands.

They give plans for a series of bathtubs, each of which has its overflow drain plumbed to a filter in the bottom of the next one. Theirs is fed by a laundry washing machine, and they have a surge tank to allow the water to cool, and slow the flow into the system.

They also have an extensive discussion of re-circulating and passive aquaponics. They only touch lightly on the treatment of blackwater, advocating thermophilic composting instead.


great.  been meaning to find a copy of that one.  I do have a couple of bathtubs hanging around, but I think I'll use them as bath tubs instead of water treatment.  seems like barrels could serve the same function, though.  thanks, Joel.
 
Neal McSpadden
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It seems to me that a humanure system would be cheepers and easiest.
 
tel jetson
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tamo42 wrote:
It seems to me that a humanure system would be cheepers and easiest.


agreed, for sure.  unfortunately, there are other considerations in this instance.  accommodations must be made for a more conventional mindset than yours.
 
Jeff Mathias
Posts: 125
Location: Westport, CA Zone 8-9; Off grid on 20 acres of redwood forest and floodplain with a seasonal creek.
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Hi Tel,

Try this: http://www.asknature.org/aof/browse

It is a list of 1200+ strategies using the biomimicry taxonomy.

On the home page I typed "clean and store nutrients from black water" in the How would Nature... search box and got this website: http://www.biolytix.com.au/residential/home/ among other results. I realize you aren't looking for a product solution but perhaps you can gather the info. you need.


Jeff







 
2017 Permaculture Design Course at Wheaton Labs
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