Worms wriggle into dairy management plan with State Conservation Commission grant

April 18. 2019

WALLA WALLA – Organix, Inc. of Walla Walla announced today that they have installed a BioFiltro water treatment system at J&K Dairy in Sunnyside. Primary funding for this new project comes from the Washington State Conservation Commission (SCC).

BioFiltro’s patented Biodynamic Aerobic (BIDA®) System garnered national attention in 2018 when Royal Dairy of Royal City was presented with a US Dairy Sustainability Award. Unlike conventional water treatment systems, the BIDA® System process capitalizes on the digestive power of red wriggler worms and microbes.

biofiltro systemHoused in site-specific containment units, wastewater is spread across the system surface via an irrigation system where it then percolates down through layers of wood shavings, river cobble, and drainage basins. Worms and microbes reside in the wood shavings layer and work symbiotically and beneficially together to form a robust biofilm that captures and breaks down contaminants. Four hours after entering the system, up to 95 percent of certain components, such as ammonia and possible greenhouse gases, are removed. The California-based company has over 150 installations functioning at wineries, dairies, food processors, slaughterhouses, and rural communities around the world, including the coldest and hottest places on Earth — Antarctica and the Atacama Desert.

According to Matt Tolbirt, BioFiltro USA, CEO, “Increasing consumer demand for regenerative agriculture calls for increased transparency and accountability in the production and farming practices. Our system provides a great story and triple bottom line impact for our clients as it not only cleans water, but also generates soil amendments (worm castings and tea) and carbon credits.”

One of those clients is Jason Sheehan of J&K Dairy in Sunnyside. J&K Dairy was selected to participate in the SCC grant project in partnership with Organix and BioFiltro.

process“Dairies must continually explore these new technologies to stay ahead of the curve,” says Sheehan. “Being environmentally sustainable is one of our four primary objectives, along with conditions for employees, treatment of animals, and providing the highest quality of milk possible.”

“This is the only water treatment system that creates exclusively beneficial byproducts as a result of the filtration process,” Organix President Russ Davis explains.  “It’s common knowledge that worm-based products are the gold standard in soil amendments. We have been working with dairies for 15 years trying to come up with a practical, low-energy water treatment system that could effectively manage nutrients. This is it.”

Davis says that as an added benefit, methane and other greenhouse gases are mitigated since the system is aerobic. As part of the grant, environmental improvements are being monitored and quantified by Washington State University. Carbon Solutions of Portland, OR is evaluating and quantifying greenhouse gas emission reductions.