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The Living Filter


Jacob Hagedorn,

About the Project

The Living Filter was funded by Penn State's Sustainability Institute's Reinvention Fund at the University Park campus in the amount of $12,950.

The purpose of this project is to examine the sustainability of the Living Filter wastewater reuse system that has been operating at Penn State for the past fifty years. The overall project goal is to create a comprehensive sustainability report and to raise awareness of Penn State’s Living Filter process through teaching and learning. The report will provide the University and community with an example of wastewater reuse innovation that can be observed and potentially replicated.

What is the Living Filter?

All the wastewater from Penn State, after it passes through the wastewater treatment plant, is sprayed onto agricultural fields and forest sites, leaving the natural filter of plants, soils, and rocks to further purify the water before it is used for drinking water again. The filter is unique in that it is one of the leading innovative solutions to sustainable wastewater disposal. Additionally, sprayed wastewater also contributes to the growth of agricultural fields, providing nutrients for crop growth. As an innovative solution, the sustainability of the process deserves to be examined and researched to ensure that no environmental problems arise from spraying wastewater on an ecosystem.

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