BioFiltro BIDA® System

BioFiltro is an international water technology company that has seen commercial success in many countries and for various commercial applications that range in size from 100 to 2,000,000 gallons per day. The technology uses a proprietary mix of biotic and abiotic filtration to remove 99% of wastewater contaminants rapidly and with high efficiency. The process takes advantage of the natural cleaning abilities of earthworms and bacteria to remove contaminants, while producing organic fertilizer byproducts.


How Does It Work

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    Aqutonix attaches to an irrigation pipe, passing water through a small electric field. The electric field breaks up hydrogen bonds holding water molecules together, separating them into individual molecules.

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    Plant cells use proteins called aquaporins to move water into their cells. When water is clumped, these aquaporins must separate water molecules themselves, expending energy to do so.

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    Conditioned water increases the efficiency with which plants uptake water, allowing agricultural users to grow more food with less water. Passing water through the electric field sterilizes the water, removing 70% of bacteria and breaks up other contaminants. 

Benefits for Tulare

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    Drought Resilience

    BioFiltro makes water recycling accessible at much lower capital and energy costs than traditional wastewater treatment technologies, expanding the opportunities for water recycling beyond centralized municipal wastewater facilities and large industrial processors. It is capable of creating local supply from a great number of sources that could help reduce potable water demand in local communities.

    Replacing dairy waste lagoons with a BioFiltro process would reduce the amount of nitrate and other contaminants polluting groundwater, improving groundwater quality for irrigation or human consumption.

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    Reduces Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    The process was studied for its emissions potential and found that while it almost eliminated odor-causing and nuisance emissions such as ammonia and H2S, the process did emit slightly more emissions of greenhouse gases such as NO2, CH4, and CO2 than lagoon treatment for dairy waste applications due to the breakdown of biological material and nitrates within the substrate. The process’s low electricity usage reduces its greenhouse gas emissions relative to more standard mechanical and biological treatment options the require blowers, chemical inputs, and sludge management stages.

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    Reduces Ratepayer Costs

    BioFiltro offers a unique wastewater as a service business model, meaning they eliminate the upfront capital cost by charging for wastewater treatment services a fixed fee per gallon treated. As part of the service agreement, BioFiltro monitors and maintains the facility via telemetry monitoring systems, reducing the need for skilled staff to remain onsite. Payments for the service are 100% tax deductible. This service is optional and customers can buy out at any time, retaining local control of their water resources.

    Modularity of the BIDA system reduces costs, extends life, and reduces need for expensive, long lead-time retrofits of large centralized wastewater treatment systems, which reduces costs of wastewater collection and treatment for all customer classes. By not producing sludge, BioFiltro eliminates transportation costs for biosolids.

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    Reduces Regulatory and Environmental Risks

    Regulatory and environmental risks addressed by the BIDA® process vary depending on the source of wastewater. Dairy wastewater is rich in nitrogen, and is often treated in lagoons, where the nitrogen and other contaminants trickle into groundwater. BioFiltro has been proven to successfully eliminate 70% of nitrogen in wastewater. Industrial wastewater that requires pretreatment is subject to fees for exceeding given limits. BIDA® provides consistently high quality of treatment to reduce variability of effluent quality, and may eliminate the need for industrial users to take part in pretreatment programs altogether. Municipal treatment facilities are required to maintain staff of particular grades, and it’s difficult to find talent for small and rural facilities. Because BioFiltro is automated and operated remotely, this burden doesn’t have to fall on the local community.

    Instead of producing sludge, which is a contaminant-laden product that must be transported and disposed of in either landfill or low-quality agricultural feed and fodder crops, BIDA® produces earthworm humus and protein, turning contaminants into value rather than waste.

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    Supports Electric Reliability

    The BIDA® process is expected to use 85% less energy than traditional mechanical treatment models. This is possible because the activity of earthworms allows oxygen to penetrate throughout the substrate, eliminating the need for energy-intensive blowers. Three pumps are needed to transport water through the system. The average energy requirement to treat 1000 gallons at a CSU Fresno pilot site were as follows:

    (1)  pretreatment screening: 3.7 kWh

    (2) BIDA® system: 3.2 kWh

    (3) Distribution: 1.7 kWh

    The process is typically operated for eight hours a day, as opposed to 24 hours a day operation used my most treatment facilities. This allows the process to coordinate with irrigation schedules or off-peak hours for electricity.

Related Case Studies

BioFiltro has implemented systems in 143 facilities across 8 countries and 6 industries. It has been successfully adopted from mediterranean to arctic climates, including one facility at an airforce base in Antarctica. The BioForce team works closely with project developers to design systems that meet the unique conditions of the climate and influent they’re treating, and they stay on site until the process is operating at full capacity.

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