Case Study

Port of Portland Living Machine

Portland, Oregon
The Living Machine® system integrated wastewater treatment and reuse into LEED Platinum Port of Portland headquarters building helps to reduce water use by 75%. The Port of Portland headquarters is now one of the world's greenest buildings.

The Port of Portland had multiple objectives for the wastewater system in their new 200,000 square foot state-of-the-art headquarters building. It had to be sustainable, cost-effective, attractive, but above all, it had to provide advanced wastewater treatment for reuse. The Living Machine® system was the only approach to wastewater treatment that could meet all the criteria.

Living Machine

A Tidal Flow Wetland Living Machine® is the central design feature in the lobby and along the exterior front walkway of the Port of Portland Administrative Office Building. After collection and initial treatment of the wastewater in a primary equalization tank, the water flows to the Living Machine®. This system, utilized for secondary and tertiary wastewater treatment, is composed of six tidal flow cells and one vertical flow cell. The high quality treated effluent is filtered and disinfected with ultraviolet light and chlorine.


  • The building has demonstrated a 75% reduction in water use.
  • The system provides interior and exterior foliage and safely integrates into public space.
  • Accepts all wastewater generated by the building’s 500 employees and produces high quality water that is reused to flush toilets and supply the cooling towers in the building.
  • The Living Machine® system was cited as a key innovative feature on’s list of the world’s greenest buildings.
  • The project attained a LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.