Why Vermifiltration?

Low cost wastewater treatment for the world


Nothing short of revolutionary, a living system.

  1. No chemicals, no costly electricity consumption, nothing high-maintenance and mechanical. Just a natural self-sustaining, complete wastewater treatment solution that uses only low cost components.
  2. Vermifiltration is a natural wastewater treatment process utilising earthworms and micro-organisms that treat wastewater effectively and efficiently.
  3. The substrate is self-maintaining and optimised to filter out suspended solids and organic substances. At the same time the water flowing through the vermifilter becomes aerated and the micro-organisms living on the substrate remove pathogens, resulting in clean, smell-free, nutrient rich water suitable for irrigating crops or pasture. The worms keep busy maintaining both the porosity and oxygen levels of the substrate by tunelling and also by grazing the biofilm to keep it healthy.

Recycling human waste for the health of the planet and those living on it.


Vermifiltration is a complete wastewater treatment solution producing humus and nutrient-rich irrigation water.

Aerobic digestion means no sludge and no methane generation.

In contrast, septic tanks, DEWATS and pits all use anaerobic digestion. They all produce sludge and methane and they all stink. Why?

  1. Methane contributes to global warming;
  2. The resulting effluent is not of a suitable quality for surface irrigation of crops, but must instead be diverted to underground soakage fields or pits that inevitably fail;
  3. Sludge buildup requires regular removal and disposal. Sewage sludge is an unavoidable consequence of anaerobic digestion and dealing with it has become one of the worlds greatest sanitation problems.

Unfortunately, anaerobic treatment continues to be the process of choice for those who can't afford better. The lower the price the less capacity ...and inadequate capacity means a low quality smelly effluent discharged into the environment. In addition, the high cost of sludge removal isn't factored into the purchase price and often sludge buildup continues without removal until the system fails.

Anaerobic systems are not a sustainable solution to the worlds wastewater problems*. Vermifiltration changes everything. Vermifiltration combines low cost with high treatment efficiency, so even poor families can aerobically treat their wastewater and produce humus and irrigation water as valuable products. Resources have become too precious in this world to squander.

The nutrient cycle is nature's recycling system.

*Here at vermifilter.com we do endorse anaerobic systems that capture methane and use that gas for domestic cooking.

Low cost

A complete household greywater and blackwater treatment system

Vermifiltration requires only small capacity reactors. These are cheap to construct and effectively treat wastewater to a very high level. By trickling effluent through a substrate aerated and maintained by worms, oxygen naturally dissolves into the water for rapid aerobic treatment, which is incredibly energy efficient.

In contrast, traditional aerobic systems use air pumps that blow bubbles into the water. This is energy intensive and costly.

A gravity-flow vermifilter requires no energy to operate and irrigates crops down hill of the source.

A single pass vermifilter uses a pump to feed a gravity-flow vermifilter in situations where there is insufficient fall to operate a standard gravity flow vermifilter.

A recirculating vermifilter runs a tiny 12v recirculation pump, which continuously recirculates the wastewater through the vermifilter reactor for high levels of treatment. The recirculation pump can be run from small, low cost solar panels.

Vermifiltration is well suited to effluent treatment at the domestic scale, to recycle from the soil back to the soil:

  • nutrient-rich water for irrigating to plants or crops; and
  • humus as a soil conditioner.

Construction of treatment plants is simple and the process is easy to understand and can be customised for every application.

Flush toilet + greywater

Vermifiltration is a complete solution for domestic wastewater, both greywater and blackwater. Flush toilets and vermifiltration work well together, either full flush or low flush.

If water is available to flush and land is available for irrigating, then vermifiltration is the right solution.

Please note: there are two situations where vermifiltration is not suitable:

  1. If water is too scarce for toilet flushing then a dry composting toilet is the preferred solution.
  2. If the water table is too high, surface irrigation of treated effluent may pollute the water table with nutrients. Treated wastewater should only be distributed to crops that benefit from irrigation.

Dry composting systems such as UDDT's (urine-diverting dry toilets) do not flush, so do not produce effluent.