Treating wastewater onsite can save owners money, but there are other good reasons too.
Photo Credit: Eckert & Eckert, courtesy ZGF
Living Machines and other types of constructed wetlands are beautiful, but they’re not ideal for every client. Onsite wastewater treatment might make sense for your next project, though, depending on factors like the site, the local infrastructure, and the owner’s mission.
Here’s a quick guide to figuring out when and where onsite wastewater treatment makes sense. For a deeper look at the topic, read this month’s EBN feature article, “Waste Water, Want Water” (BuildingGreen member link).
Lower the flow first
Potable water has a massive energy footprint, even in water-rich areas. We don’t pay anything like the true cost of this nonrenewable resource, so most of us don’t think twice about polluting it just so we can make our own pee and poop go “away.”
Transporting and treating wastewater has energy and other environmental costs as well, but before you start doing the payback analysis on that membrane bioreactor, you first need to look at the water budget for the project holistically. What else can you do to reduce your use of potable water?