April 2004 was one of the driest seasons at Las Casas de la Selva which proved to be very fortunate for an exciting and busy session with the construction of a Wastewater Garden at the homestead. The team that gathered to complete this project in 15 days were: Dr. Mark Nelson, Chairman of the Institute of Ecotechnics, Mark ‘Laser’ Van Thillo, Abigail Alling, Gessie Houghton, Robert Townsend, Gregg Dugan, Chris ‘Dolphin’ Cook, Gilberto ‘Tingo’, Carmelo Torre, Javier Rojas, Sally Silverstone, 3t Vakil.

Wastewater Gardens® were developed by Dr. Mark Nelson, Chairman of the Institute of Ecotechnics and head of Wastewater Gardens International. The system was originally developed as part of the pioneering Biosphere 2 closed ecological system in Arizona. The system uses the technology of subsurface flow constructed wetlands so that there is never any exposed wastewater – thus preventing odor and accidental human contact.

Wastewater Gardens are an ecological, low cost, low maintenance solution to the problem of human waste. Improperly treated sewage causes ecological damage, pollutes drinking water supplies, and is literally a waste of potentially valuable freshwater enriched with nutrients in a world increasingly short of water resources. Using no mechanical or moving parts and no chemicals, all wastewater is recycled via a gravity system into elegant, biologically diverse gardens that produce lovely flowers as well as fruit and vegetables that can be eaten by humans, fodder crops for animal consumption or fuel-wood and fiber. The systems are carefully sealed so no wastewater contaminates the soil, ground water, rivers, lakes, or coastal waters.

Big Thanks to: Zabel Corporation, and Brian Borders for parts and filters for the Wastewater Garden. Firestone Corporation, and Marco Seiber for the donation of the liner for the Wastewater Garden and with all the help in getting it to us on time.

This Waste Water garden was built with a Grant from the Departamento de Recursos Naturales y Ambientales Puerto Rico. Gracious thanks to all those who made it possible.


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