Technology Spotlight: Healing the Waters through Ecological Design

In 1980, John Todd started experimenting with biologically diverse systems to deal with recalcitrant contamination issues. His research and patents have influenced a generation of wastewater technologies. He envisions a world in which natural treatment systems are at the heart of our industries and cities and reintegrate human life back into the biological cycle.

Eight years later, Dr. Todd founded John Todd Ecological Design (JTED) to commercialize this vision and to create an accessible alternative to conventional wastewater treatment. In the last 28 years, Dr. John Todd has completed projects on five continents dealing with waterborne waste streams ranging from domestic sewage to industrial wastes.

JTED’s Restorers use, biodiversity to create biological complex systems capable of treating the most difficult contaminants and human-waste streams. For example, the Eco-Machine design for the Omega Center for Sustainable Living in Rhinebeck, NY, treats up to 52,000 gallons/day of wastewater for irrigation of a leach field in a space used as a classroom, event space and yoga studio.

By using 12,000 plants composed of 20 native species, the Restorer in the Baima canal was able to reduce odors, eliminate floating solids and improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood. Additionally, the walkway down the center of the Restorer became a recreation area for the members of the community.

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John Todd Ecological Design commitment to design initiatives that give more than what it takes from nature is also setting a precedent to reversing the ongoing contamination of oceans. The Ocean Restorers are unlike any other bio solution John Todd Ecological Design has ever created. The Ocean Restorers are catamaran lookalike ships, powered by solar and wind energy, and filled with biological complex systems of sea grass, oyster reef, kelp forest and algae turfs that would be able to filter more than 1 billion gallons of sea water per day

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We love when people are committed to design sustainable initiatives that help us conserve our natural resources. Combining water efficient technologies, such as Hybrid or waterfree Urinals, with these other revolutionary recapture technologies will  be crucial to build a sustainable long term infrastructure and conserve  our most valuable resource, water.