The wastewater passes through a series of tanks stocked with microorganisms, plants, snails and fish that clean it without using any chemicals. As the water becomes cleaner, it flows from closed tanks to open ones that resemble marshes filled with wetland plants, snails, clams, and fish. These tanks are located in a greenhouse where sunlight powers the plants and the cleaning process continues.
At the end of the cycle, the water can be safely discharged or reused. The solid wastes are composted and used in gardens. The Living Machine is less expensive to install than a conventional wastewater treatment system and less costly to operate. It also has the advantage of looking like a lush garden and is completely free of foul odors.