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News & Press

Sep 18, 2020

O'Neill Vintners & Distillers Unveils Biofiltro's Largest Worm Powered Winery Wastewater System in the World

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.

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