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Vermifiltration Ecological Treatment for the Re-Use of Food Waste Digestate

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A vermifiltration ecological treatment system (VETS) was developed to treat bio-digested food waste and create nitrate-rich fertilizer. Conventional processes to treat digester effluent are typically not designed for value-added products from the treatment process. This research is the first documented example of an ecological treatment system (ETS) used for digester waste. Experiments were conducted at three different inflow rates. Removal efficiency of ammonium nitrogen (NH4 +-N), carbonaceous biochemical oxygen (CBOD5), and total suspended solids (TSS) were consistently larger than 90%; NOx -N displayed large increases in the system. With increased flow rates, NH4 +-N, NOx -N and orthophosphate phosphorus (ortho-PO4 3−-P) concentration in the effluent also increased, but TSS and CBOD5 concentrations in the effluent did not change. Used as the first unit process in the system, vermifiltration showed high efficiency in NH4 +-N and CBOD5 reduction. Design formulas were developed using literature in combination with this study to facilitate design of ETSs.

Keywords: anaerobic digester; ecological engineering; ecological treatment system; food waste; living machine; vermiculture; vermifiltration

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2013-11-01

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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