Will reclaim 1,000 gallons daily; 'reconnects spa guests ... to the natural water cycle'

[caption id="attachment_13420" align="alignleft" width="216" caption="Wetland habitat at Osmosis Day Spa"][/caption]

FREESTONE - Long-time champion of "green before it was green," Osmosis Day Spa recently unveiled the culmination of more than a year's worth of work to create a unique, on-site wetlands and water recycling habitat.

Late last month, the spa and sanctuary announced the creation of a constructed marsh project on the eastern edge of the five-acre property that will recycle about 1,000 gallons daily. The habitat that was planned and constructed in about 14 months will provide a home for local insects and animals but also process wastewater.

"Reusing our greywater for irrigation reconnects spa guests and staff and the gardens to the natural water cycle," said owner Michael Stusser, who opened the spa about 20 years ago.

The plot takes water from the spa's sinks, showers and washing machines and naturally filters heavy metals and organic matter through its ecosystem of plants and microorganisms. The recycled water can then be used for hydrating the spa's soon-to-be-completed gardens. The landscape will eventually include lavender, fruit trees and other herbs that will be used in the spa.

In order to complete the system, plumbing had to be reconfigured to separate greywater from other waste water from toilets and the kitchen. The water is stored in a tank then piped to the wetlands where it is processed for about four to seven days. The space has the capacity to release up to 1,500 gallons a day, which is pumped into the spa's subsurface irrigation system.

Inside the spa, Osmosis has long implemented other sustainability-minded measures, including energy saving systems, composting and organic therapies.

Mr. Stusser is recognized nationally for his leadership in efforts to green spas. He helped launch the Green Spa Network with six other businesses in 2007. The nonprofit now includes about 51 members nationwide and provides a toolkit for other providers interested in greening their operations.