How green is that water fixture in your corporate lobby?

Aesthetically pleasing wastewater treatment systems from Worrell Water Technologies process gray and black water for irrigation, toilet flushing, cooling, washing and other non-potable uses.

A common fixture (literally) of many corporate or public building lobbies is that seemingly ubiquitous cascading waterfall or fountain. Soothing, definitely. But have you stopped to think about whether or not these water fixtures could serve a higher purpose?

That's the ulterior motive of Worrell Water Technologies, which designs wastewater treatment systems such as the one pictured above from the Port of Portland headquarters lobby. The system featured in this image is called the Tidal Flow Wetland Living Machine, which imitates the natural processes of a tidal wetland to recycle gray and black water for reuse within a building.

Living Machine systems have found success with a number of municipal organizations, including the Port of Portland and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The technology is seen as useful for helping businesses or real estate managers earn points for green building features.

The treated water flowing through the San Francisco installation, for example, is being reused for toilet flushing throughout the 13-story, 277,500-square-foot building. The installation was integrated into the lobby and outside, as part of a 1,000-square-foot wetlands area. The system will save an estimated 750,000 gallons of water annually, and will make 900,000 gallons of non-potable water available for other future uses, according to the Worrell Water Technologies.

(Image of Port of Portland installation courtesy of Living Machines)