News & Press
Parlier, CA – This month, O’Neill Vintners & Distillers, the seventh largest winery in the US, unveiled BioFiltro’s largest worm powered winery wastewater system in the world, capable of filtering more than one million gallons of wastewater per day. A key component of the winery’s ongoing commitment to sustainability practices, BioFiltro’s patented Biodynamic Aerobic (BIDA®) System enables O’Neill to harness the digestive power of California red wrigglers to recycle up to 80 million gallons of water a year, equivalent to 2.7 million bathtubs or 640 million water bottles. O’Neill’s worms will convert the nutrients from the wastewater into worm castings, a soil amendment sought after by growers for its microbial activity, nutrient levels, and ability to improve soil health.
O’Neill Vintners & Distillers spent the last nine months building and implementing BioFiltro’s system. The new system takes up five acres at the winery’s Parlier, California facility, near Fresno and consists of 12 basins, or worm beds, each larger than an Olympic sized swimming pool. with 28,000 cubic feet of wood chips and shavings, 6,750 tons of crushed rock and 100 million worms. Each bed is filled with drainage cells, crushed rock, geotextiles, and topped off with a layer of wood chips and shavings. During start up, the beds were seeded with microbes and 22,000,000 California red worms (Eisenia fetida) and which will reproduce and exceed 200 million in population.
An irrigation system sits atop the wood chips and distributes the wastewater evenly across the surface. As it percolates down through the system medias, the worms and microbes will remove 85% or more in biochemical oxygen demand and total suspended solids and 50% or more of total nitrogen. Within four hours treated water flows out of the beds and into collection sumps that then pump the treated water into the fields for irrigation.