I’ve had this post from Metaefficient saved for several days:
On a rest stop on Interstate 89, the State of Vermont has installed a sophisticated system that uses plants and organisms to clean wastewater, and then pumps the treated water back to the toilets for reuse. This type of installation is called a “Living Machine”, because aquatic plants are used to filter sewage, and ingest the nutrients in it. The plants are South Asian natives and their roots are well suited to host the organisms that eat the waste, converting it into plant food. In a wing of the building, in the glass greenhouse, visitors look down on the vegetation from a grated ledge. The room smells like a combination of mulch and chlorine.
While this makes for a nice showpiece for tourists driving through Vermont, I think it’s great that the state is experimenting with ecological waste solutions in what is likely a high-use facility. Rest stops aren’t stylish or sexy, but I’d imagine that they generally use an awful lot of water and pump a lot of wastes into sewage systems.