using plants to decontaminate/reclaim graywater

passiflorakae(MA)April 2, 2003

If I remember correctly, somewhere on Cape Cod there used to be a solar-powered demo house that had an outdoor system of water purification tanks that used plants, fish and whatever to clean the water... and perhaps it had a secondary use. I remember visiting this place as a kid, and would like to know if it still exists, or was it a late '70's energy-crisis oasis that vanished?

Sorry to sound so vague, i haven't had much luck finding info on it, so I can only offer my vague memories...

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polly_il(z5/6 IL)

Hmmm - can't find any info about a house near Cape Cod; but in the book "Gaia's Garden" by Toby Hemenway, the chapter on "Catching, Conserving, and Using Water" has some information about a home/office north of San Fransico that uses a marsh and series of small ponds to reclaim grey water and contain rainwater as well. They have a list of plants that are suggested for bog gardens; e-mail me if you'd like a copy.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2003 at 9:12AM
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robhuffstedtler(z7/8 NC)

That sort of sounds like the Solviva house (, I think), but its on either Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard (don't remember which). It's for sale now, I think.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2003 at 4:56PM
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There is a progressive cheese manufacturer that uses this method on their wastewater.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2003 at 11:33AM
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carolb_w_fl(zone 9/10)


Here's a link to the co. that created that system for 'em.....

Here is a link that might be useful: Living Technologies

    Bookmark   May 5, 2003 at 11:52AM
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What a wonderful world we would live in if all manufacturers looked for solutions such as this!!!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2003 at 9:31AM
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mudpatti(8 Seattle)

I think you're looking for the now-defunct New Alchemy Institute in Falmouth. I spent some time there in 1985, took an integrated aquaculture course in the spring, interned in the summer and took apermaculture design course in the fall-during hurricane Gloria! John Todd was one of the founders of NAI and is the founder of Living Technologies. His Living Machines are cleaning up a lot of dirty water.


Here is a link that might be useful: new alchemy/greencenter

    Bookmark   May 17, 2003 at 11:36PM
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ken_mce(zone 4, NY)

They do that with the sewage on the island of Bonaire. They dump it into a little dammed off valley and let stuff come grow in it. Place has become a magnet for birds who come for the critters who come for the sewage. Doesn't work for heavy metals, but is great for run of the mill sewage.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2003 at 8:50AM
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