The Eco‑Machine from John Todd Ecological Design is a custom‑built wastewater treatment system that purifies water without chemicals.


  • Chemical‑free
  • Sustainable


  • Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment
  • Treatment of impaired waters

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

  • Goal 11: Sustainable Cities & Communities


  • Bacteria
  • Native plants and organisms

The Challenge

More than 80% of waste waters (some 1,500 billion tons every year) flow untreated into rivers, lakes, and coastal zones, threatening health, food security, and access to safe drinking and bathing water. Traditional wastewater treatments require the use of hazardous chemicals and large amounts of energy.

Innovation Details

Eco-machines use sunlight, and natural processes to create clean water with the byproducts of natural gases and biological material. They also use naturally occurring organisms to break down waste and organic materials, which are then used by other organisms in the machine. This can jumpstart the ecology of a water body, digest sediments and reduce nutrient levels, bringing the water body back into ecological health. They can also serve as a habitat for wildlife and as a recreational amenity within a community.

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Biomimicry Story

Healthy wetland ecosystems are commonly seen as natural water filtration systems because they can remove sediments and nutrients from the surrounding soil or water. Nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous are taken from the water by bacteria and wetland plants that consume these nutrients as they grow. Physical processes like filtering and sedimentation can also remove nutrients and particles from the water. These biological and physical processes interact with many other factors, such as temperature and land structure, to affect a wetland’s overall function.