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OTS promotes environmental stewardship with 'Living Classroom'

5/20/2010 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photos courtesy of Old Trail School
BATH — Old Trail School (OTS) has announced that its new Living Classroom is fully operational.

The Living Classroom is a greenhouse that is home to OTS’s “Living Machine.” OTS’s construction of this type of system was based on its commitment to environmental sustainability and its location within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, according to school officials. The Living Machine® system is an advanced wetland system, composed of three different wetland processes, that treats 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day.

When faced with replacing an antiquated septic system in 2008, OTS needed to choose between an on-site system or connecting to the city sewer system. But after considering the high construction costs and tie-in fees, along with complex building specifications and the necessary laying of water pipes, Head of School John Farber said he looked for another, more environmentally friendly alternative.

“Sustainability is a critical factor in our school’s operation,” Farber said. “We decided to be more forward-thinking and select an environmentally correct on-site wastewater treatment system that would enable us to teach good stewardship by doing good stewardship.”

OTS contracted with Worrell Water Technologies to install this system, which also provides OTS with educational opportunities for its students.

In addition to the main treatment system, there are smaller demonstration ponds and wetlands that allow students to understand the inner workings of the system.

According to OTS officials, the water produced by a Living Machine system is high-quality, clear water capable of being reused for a variety of functions, including irrigation, toilet flushing, industrial processes, washing equipment or animal areas and filling landscape water features.

The exterior and interior of the Living Classroom are shown above left and above, the latter of which also includes OTS students taking a look around.

For more information, visit www.livingmachines.com.

OTS also welcomes inquiries regarding field trips, tours or small group meetings. For details, contact Beth Watson at bwatson@oldtrail.org or 330-666-1118, ext. 490.

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