Water Quality & Conservation -
The Living Machine
Smugglers' Notch, Vermont
In 1999, Smugglers' integrated "living" technology into our wastewater infrastructure to enhance environmentally sound treatment techniques. This treatment facility has been dubbed the Living Machine because of the natural biological processes that are used to treat the Resort's wastewater. The wastewater or influent in the Living Machine moves through a series of reactors. Each reactor creates an environment that has been designed to treat specific components of the influent, utilizing bacteria primarily. Oxygen as well as plants help create a favorable environment in which the bacteria thrive, thus increasing the treatment efficiency and eliminating the need for chemical addition.
Plant roots provide habitat for the useful microorganisms that are employed by the wastewater treatment process. In addition to providing surface area for bacterial growth, the roots also take up nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus as the plants grow. A number of exotic plants such as taro, elephant ear, ginger and various species of lily grow in each reactor arranged on racks much like hydroponics. Fish have been introduced into the final clarifying tank in order to consume algae that grow on the tank walls. The entire facility is located within a greenhouse in order to create an optimal environment for the tropical plants used there.
Smugglers' remains dedicated to environmental stewardship through the use of innovative technology and concepts.
Yearly water audits are conducted in the Fall. These audits consist of checking kitchen and bathroom faucets and showerheads in every residence and commercial facility to make sure they have the proper low-flow aerators. Each and every toilet is checked for leaking flapper valves. Did you know that a leaking toilet could use as much as 4,500 gallons of water in a single day? Smugglers' now purchases water-conserving clothes washers and dishwashers saving at least 85,000 gallons of water per year for 10 homes.