Sewage Treatment

We must become more aware of where our sewage goes.

Earthships contain, use and reuse all household sewage in indoor and outdoor treatment cells. This results in food production and landscaping with no pollution of aquifers.

Toilets flush with treated gray water that does not smell.




earthship sewage treatment

Containment, Treatment & Distribution

The concept used for containment, treatment and distribution of sewage-water is based on and draws information from the wetlands concept which has long been used in exterior applications for thousands of years by humans and nature.


The Earthship sewage system differs from the wetlands approach in that it primarily treats the gray water inside the building and the sewage from the toilet outside of the building, both in smaller areas. Greywater is the used water after all receptacles except the toilet.

All household sewage is used & reused in the interior and exterior planters, called botanical cells.


Earthship greywater planter

Use & Re-use

Water is used to carry away our household sewage in a conventional way such as bathing, washing dishes, and for the toilet. The sewage-water, also called gray water, is used and cleaned for a second time in interior botanical cells. The flush toilet is the third use of the water. After the toilet, the water is contained and treated, and used a fourth time in exterior botanical cells.


  Phoenix Earthship Kitchen

Interior Botanical Cell

The Earthship gray water system has been researched and developed by Earthship Biotecture for over 20 years. This system allows for the need of far less water than is conventionally assumed.

Gray Water Organizing Module (gWOM)

The gWOM pumps the treated water, which is now gray water to the toilet to flush.
The gWOM is part of our retrofit package for your existing home.

Ask us about it: 575-751-0462 or click here to send a message.

  Greywater Organizing Module

Exterior Botanical Cell

The effort to contain the outdoor system rather than letting it leach into the earth is much more realistic and manageable because of its lower volume. It should also be noted that one or many more contained cells can be added to the outdoor system if necessary. This simply adds to the controlled landscaping of the home.

The objective is to eliminate the need for public sewage systems and un-contained septic systems that pollute the earth, while getting multiple uses out of all water collected in the catchwater systems.

For the purpose of satisfying convention, the Earthship Sewage system is set up (via valving) to flow entirely into the conventional septic tank and on to a conventional leach-field. The Earthship water system is not, therefore, in place of but in addition to convention.


Blackwater planter overview

Blackwater planter overview


The path of WASTE water in an Earthship:

  • After water is used in sinks, showers and bat-tubs, it then drains into linear biologically developed interior gray water treatment and containment systems (gray water planters).
  • Clean looking (but not drinkable) water is piped to flush the toilet (toilets) with.
  • Next the water goes outside to a conventional septic tank that is solar heated with a glazed south side to enhance the anaerobic process. This unit functions like a regular septic tank (only better) with a line out to a conventional leach-field.
  • We add a preferred but optional line out that goes in to rubber lined exterior botanical cell(s) (size and quantity varies) that are constructed very similar to the interior gray water treatment and containment planter. This facilitates total containment of remaining effluent and directs its use toward exterior landscaping. After this use the water again tests below measurable nitrate levels

We are simply adapting our needs to the already existing activities of the planet.

Why pipe water long distances from a centralized community water system, or from an expensive well that needs significant electrical power, depletes aquifers and lowers the water table, when water fall from the sky?

Why have a corporate or political "middle man" between us and our energy needs? our vessel (home) must be designed to sail with the forces that exist beyond human control and exploitation.

An understanding of mechanical systems for most humans is limited to what is within reach of their fingertips. It is understood that when you flip a switch on the wall, a light comes on. when you turn on the faucet, hot water comes out. When you pull the handle on the toilet, it flushes. Little though is given to where the electricity comes from or what kind of nuclear waste was produced to generate it. how many of us even know where the power plant is that supplies our power. Few people ever wonder which water table is depleted to bring them water and what chemicals have been added to it. Where does the sewage go after it is flushed and which rivers and lakes are polluted by it?

Humans need comfortable temperatures, light, electricity, hot water, food, sewage treatment, etc. These necessities are all available within the framework of a certain "rhythm" in the Earthship. The more we are able to align our priorities and needs with the prevailing rhythms of the planet, the easier and less expensive (both in terms of economics and ecology) they will be to obtain.

If our lifestyles can conform more to the patterns of the planet than to our socioeconomic system, we can reduce the stress on both ourselves and the planet. This is easier said than done due to the "reality" and the "gravity" of mortgage payments, utility bills and the generally high cost of eating and living. Most of us have no choice. We have to be places at certain times looking certain ways in order to make the money needed to make those payments. However, many people have built Earthships themselves and ended up with little to no mortgage payment. They also have little or no utility bills and their ability to grow food year-round inside the Earthship has greatly affected what they have to spend on packaged, processed foods.

The condition of our planet tells us we must now begin to take responsibility for what happens beyond the reach of our fingertips. We must begin to reconsider the source of these utilities, our access to them, and how we dispose of the waste produced. The mechanical systems of the Earthship confront these issues directly. We call this direct living. Source, access and destination are all contained within the Earthship, within the reach of our fingertips. There is no mystery involved in Earthship electricity. There is no unknown source of water. There is no magical black hole that sucks up all our sewage. Instead, we work in harmony with the earth to deal with these issues - taking what it has to give us directly and giving back what it wants to receive. With this harmony ringing in our minds we evolve the Earthship Systems.


Earthship Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Earthship HQ
Date: 30 November 2015

Earthship HQ
Date: 11 January 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 08 February 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 07 March 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 11 July 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 09 August 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 07 November 2016

Earthship HQ
Date: 05 December 2016

Calgary, Canada Earthship Temperature Report

Calgary, Canada Earthship Temperature Report November 14, 2014: Someone was asking about our temperatures at the Earthship in Calgary, Canada... We are running at +18 C (64.4 F) when it is -18 C (-1 F) and more with the wind chill. November 16,...Read More

The "Extraordinary" Mike Reynolds

Mike Reynolds is featured amongst 50 people who fit the category of "extraordinary." By: Peter Horsfield "Sustainable, comfortable and eco-friendly. These are just a few of the words that one can use to describe...Read More

Earthship Aquaponic Prototype

Earthship Aquaponic Prototype Four months after filling the pond with water, we have a thriving vegetable and soon, fish producing Aquaponic System in the Towers Earthship at Eathship Biotecture, Taos, NM. For those of you who initially thought that...Read More

Salad from the Earthship Towers

Salad from the Earthship Towers From the Earthship Towers... Bring something for lunch to accompany this delicious fresher than fresh aquaponic salad, we will be making for everyone at the office tomorrow. Here's what will be in it: Big...Read More

Earthship 'biotecture' stays comfy without utilities

Earthship 'biotecture' stays comfy without utilities TAOS, N.M. —from If you landed in the desert surrounding this north-central New Mexico town, you might at first think you had landed on another planet. In a...Read More

Easter Island Earthship Academy wraps up session

Easter Island Earthship Academy wraps up session Work continued this past week on the Easter Island music school.  Tires were pounded for a fourth vault and the vault was installed and plastered.  One room is completely finished and the rest are on their way.  The...Read More

Summer workshop coming up in Adelaide @ Earthship Ironbank

Summer workshop coming up in Adelaide @ Earthship Ironbank Earthship workshops - January 2015 in South Australia workshops Monday 5 January - Saturday 24 January 2015 This may be the final Earthship Ironbank Workshop! The focus will be; rendering with lime and earth plasters,...Read More

Aquaponics Prototype

Aquaponics Prototype for Global Mobile Earthships

Casas que le hacen bien al planeta

Casas que le hacen bien al planeta Great new article and interview with Michael Reynolds in the Argentina magazine Rumbos. En Español.

EB Academy Works on Local Humanitarian Effort

EB Academy Works on Local Humanitarian Effort           Academy 2014 – Session 2 There have been several hits on a Global Model Earthship being built for a Taos family who was displaced after losing their home in Hurricane Katrina in 2005....Read More

About Earthship Biotecture

Earthship construction drawings are designed to meet standard building code requirements so you can get a permit no matter where you are. Earthship Biotecture is beyond LEED Architecture. Earthships are green buildings that meet standard building codes. EarthshipBiotecture is based on the work of principal architect, Michael Reynolds. (see: media resume)

Earthships on Facebook | Earthships on Twitter | Earthships on LinkedIn | Earthships on YouTube | Earthships on Pinterest




English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish

Contact Us

Main Office and Nightly Rentals
+1 (575) 751-0462
Visitor Center +1 (575) 613-4409

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 1041
Taos, NM  87571