I've been to a fair share of parties where some folks don't make it from the back yard to the bathroom, but that certainly isn't the ideal method of lawn care. In general, we humans ship our wastewater off to treatment plants, a land and energy intensive process. And to make it all worse, a great deal of America's vital drinking water gets poured onto its lawns...about 15,000 gallons PER HOME!
But what if we could close the loop. What if our wastewater could be processed on-site and then pumped back out to make our gardens grow? Whether it sounds disgusting or exciting to you is, I suppose, a matter of perspective. But it looks like it's right on the horizon.
Biokube, a Danish company, is bringing the BioKube Venus to America. The Venus is a septic tank advanced enough that it can make your waste water clean enough for use in agriculture (i.e. watering your lanw.) The device would produce more than the 15,000 gallons used by most households. The excess would just be released into groundwater like current septic systems. But, I suppose you'd want to limit the amount of frolicking in the sprinklers your kids were doing.
So-called gray water has been used for irrigation for a long time. Simply pumping processed waste-water to nearby land for irrigation is a great way to prevent drinking water being dumped on lawns across the world. But those systems require laying twice as much pipe for water delivery...one for clean water, and one for gray water.
The Venus works by passing the wastewater through membranes tightly packed with cleansing bacteria. The device is about six feet tall and four feet wide and can clean about 7.5 liters of water every 15 minutes.
The Venus will make it's debut in California, where the government is cracking down on dirty old septic systems AND wasted drinking water. It's a perfect storm for the Venus, which could solve both of those problems at the same time.
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