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Evergreen School, Western Wayne, PA

When the Western Wayne School District needed to replace two aging elementary schools, which had become difficult and expensive to maintain, they opted to significantly lower operating costs by bringing all teachers and students together in one location. Funding concerns led the school system to seek LEED Silver certification and the lack of sewer lines created the need for on-site wastewater treatment.

The new school’s fundamentally sustainable design goals, along with specific budgetary needs made the Living Machine® system the obvious choice when it came to onsite wastewater treatment. This decision was further reinforced by the soil’s low infiltration capacity, which made traditional land disposal of wastewater unfeasible. With its small footprint and unique educational opportunities, the Living Machine system more than fulfilled the school’s many requirements.


This Living Machine system treats 7,000 gallons per day through 4 tidal flow wetland (TFW) cells in Stage 1 and two vertically dosed TFW cells in Stage 2. Wastewater from the Living Machine is pumped to a cartridge filter followed by 2 stage disinfection with ultraviolet (UV) light and chlorine disinfection prior to storage in the Reuse Tank. The water is then used on-site for toilet flushing and irrigation.


  • Uses about half the water of a conventional building of the same size.
  • Treats wastewater on-site with a compact physical footprint.
  • Serves as an educational tool for students.
  • Saved the school system millions that would have been spent in sewer line installation.
  • Energy efficient design fits into the school district’s energy savings plan and helped reach LEED Silver certification.
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus in the effluent serve as fertilizer for the school’s playing fields.