Eco Machine™ FAQs

Q: Where does Omega's water come from?
A: Omega's water comes from an aquifer located deep beneath campus. The aquifer is part of the Wappinger Creek watershed.

Q: How long does it take for the Eco Machine at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living to process wastewater?
A: Depending on flow, it takes approximately 36 hours from the time the water is used on Omega's campus to the end of the purification process.

Q: How many gallons of water does Omega's Eco Machine process each day?
A: Omega is an educational retreat center that runs seasonally from April through October. In the off-season, our Eco Machine processes approximately 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day. On an average day during the season, it processes about 25,000 gallons. The Eco Machine is designed and licensed to process up to 52,000 gallons of water per day.

Q: How do solids get processed in the Eco Machine at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living?
A: Organic solids, as well as a number of man-made products that get flushed down the toilets, go to solid settlement tanks. All solids settle out as sludge and are injected with mircroorganisms to accelerate decomposition. Undigested sludge is pumped out by a licensed facility.

Q: How does the Eco Machine adjust to fluctuating use?
A: The Eco Machine at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living was specifically designed with numerous individual cells that allow us to control the flow of wastewater. In this way, we can "feed" the microorganisms of the Eco Machine evenly no matter how much water is being processed on a particular day. In addition, the circulation of water can be controlled to increase or decrease through the Eco Machine as demand changes.

Q: Once the water is treated by the Eco Machine, where does it go?
A: The water purified by the Eco Machine is released back to the aquifer beneath our campus in two large dispersal fields under Omega's parking lot. This final step completes a hydrological loop: we draw our water from the aquifer, use it, purify it, and return it to the aquifer again.

Q: How does the Eco Machine work in winter? Does it freeze?
A: The Eco Machine works well year round. Even during the coldest winter months, the microorganisms within the Eco Machine produce enough heat to keep the water from freezing. Also, the plants in the wetlands and the green roof are perennials that go dormant each winter and being to grow again in the spring.