What Works

For some reason, sewage lends itself to visualization quite well. This info-graphic uses less than 100 words to describe the process of wastewater recycling in a commercial building. From toilet bowl back to toilet bowl via a potted garden in the lobby and a UV pipe light.

These kind of cartoon-like diagrams are quite useful as communication tools. The fact that they leave out important details is usually compensated by a verbal presentation or accompanying text.

What Needs Work

In this case, the accompanying text only references a few places where this system will be used in the future. There’s no word on whether it can be installed as a retrofit or any additional technical information about how it works.

Important unanswered questions

Just how many plants per person are needed in the lobby? Do most commercial lobbies have enough space for all that greenery? Could it be installed on a rooftop instead? Would the whole system work better if inhabitants adopted the “if it’s yellow let, it mellow; if its brown, flush it down” toileting strategy? What happens to the sludge at the bottom of the septic tank?

Relevant Sources

Illustration by Leandro Castelao for Deja Poo: The Living Machine Sewage System in Wired Magazine, June 2009: p. 32. Text by Nate Berg.