Natural & Cultural Stewardship

Undergraduate Fellow looks to bring a Living Machine ® to Sewanee

Tue, 15 Oct 2013 16:18:00 CDT  — by: Georgia Skerman, C'15, Sustainability Undergraduate Fellow

living_waterSustainability Undergraduate Fellow, Georgia Skerman (C’15) will be working to bring a water filtration and reuse system, known as the Living Machine ®, to Sewanee.

These systems mimic tidal flow wetlands by passing wastewater from surrounding buildings through a series of bio/substrate cells that filter the water through several fill and drain cycles before disinfecting it with UV light. The final product is gray water that can be reused for purposes such as flushing toilets or for irrigation.

This technology not only generates reusable water, but saves money, raises awareness about wastewater use and disposal on campus, and provides research opportunities both for sustainability and for the study of wetland filtration. A Living Machine ® would do these things as well as serve as a beacon for Sewanee’s efforts in and commitment to sustainability.

living_machine_3Sewanee would not be the first to implement this system. Living Machines ® have been installed in government buildings in San Francisco, San Diego, and Portland; developments in Florida and Washington; resorts in New Mexico and California; Zoos in Nevada and the Netherlands; and most importantly schools in South Carolina (Furman University), North Carolina (Guilford County), Ohio (Old Trail School), and Pennsylvania (Evergreen School).

Skerman will make an effort to incorporate a Living Machine ® into the Sewanee Commons design, and promote this technology as an option for new buildings as they are constructed or old buildings as they are remodeled.


Aside from her efforts to bring a Living Machine ® to Sewanee, Skerman will be working in the community to make clubs, internships, and alumni that are connected to sustainability more easily available to interested students.

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