The Biofil Digester
Biological Filters and Composters Limited (Biofilcom)
The Biofil Digester is a decentralized wastewater treatment system that uses anaerobic digestion.
The Biofil digester is a passive decentralized wastewater treatment system that uses aerobic decomposition and macro-organisms to break down waste. The typical digester accommodates 10 users and can be scaled to meet larger waste demands. The digester can also be modified to treat waste from existing septic tanks or treat sludge from other toilet systems. Efficiency of treatment and user capacity can be maximized by adding a “microflush” option which uses hand-washing greywater for flushing.
Ghana, India, Bangladesh, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Liberia
Approximate pricing as of 2014 includes the transportation, installation, and a 2 year guarantee:
Standard flush unit (digester connected to existing toilet) = 500 USD
Standalone toilet (digester, superstructure, hand washing facility) = 880 USD
Institutional digester (retrofit) = 450 USD per seat
Institutional digester (including superstructure) = 1000 USD per seat
Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation
Users seeking a hygienic, off-grid, passive wastewater treatment system; users in areas with no sewer system and minimal to no water supply for sanitation; users seeking to upgrade a pit latrine or replace a septic tank system.
Designed in Africa for Africa, Biofil relies entirely on local manufacturers and local materials. Stand-alone digester and toilet models are available in flush and microflush units, which are precast and typically installed in two days.
Users can obtain a Biofil Digester from Biofilcom.
The Global Sustainable Aid Project (GASP) is a humanitarian aid organization that offers a version of the Biofil Digester, the Microflush. Users can obtain a Microflush-Biofil through GASP’s MAKER-LENDER Microfranchise model, contact GASP for micro-franchising information.
5000 (as of 2013)
Flow rate of the equipment
Type of wastewater treatment process
How effective is the process at BOD removal?
How effective is the process at COD removal?
How effective is the process at NH4-N removal?
How effective is the process at total suspended solid removal?
How effective is the process at total phosphorus removal?
How effective is the process at fecal coliform removal?
The Biofil Digester is an on-site organic waste treatment system that combines the benefits of the flush toilet system and composting toilets while attempting to eliminate the disadvantages of those systems. The Biofil Digester technology treats all organic degradable matter through the natural process of aerobic decomposition. The basic digester is 2 ft x 2 ft x 6 ft (600 mm x 600 mm x 1800 mm). Each digester operates as a filter via rapid separation of solids and liquids, aerobic composting of solids, and biological -filtration of wastewater.
Contact the manufacturer for technical support.
Designed for a lifespan of 20 years with an assumed maximum household size of 15 users per day.
The Biofilm Digester was designed to process all organic degradable matter through aerobic decomposition while not emitting odorous gas. The digester is suitable for all soil conditions. and can be laid above ground or below ground depending on the groundwater level of the location. The biofilm digester requires minimum maintenance and needs no mechanical or electrical aeration of solid mass to achieve decomposition.
Effluent Quality Analysis was performed by CSIR Water Research Institute. Analysis results for the Biofil systems for the following parameters: pH, conductivity, BOD, COD, temperature, ortho-phosphate, nitrate as nitrogen, ammonium as nitrogen, and nitrite. Influent concentrations are unknown. The analysis results showed that levels for pH, Cond., BOD, and COD met EPA Guidelines.
This Thesis assessing the filtration properties found that the filter had a limited impact on the reduction of TSS, TDS, COD, NO3, and PO4.
There are no known safety issues with this product.
The Biofil Digester can be paired with a hand-washing station which uses the greywater from hand-washing to flush the toilet. This design reduces water use and promotes hand-washing by requiring greywater to flush the toilet.
The BiofilTM’s Rain Forest Treatment System (RFTS) is a centralized wastewater management system that includes the BiofilTM Digester. More broadly, RFTSs are a technical approach designed to treat organic wastewater from both domestic and industrial sources but can also be modified to handle flows from larger community buildings (i.e., hospitals, offices, recreational places, etc.). RFTS’s may include vertical gardens, sand filters, reed/planted beds, and/or gabions.
Amoah, P., et al., 2016, Performance evaluation of biofil toilet waste digester technologies in Ghana: the efficacy of effluent treatment options. Environmental Technology, 37:23, 3002-3013.
Alemneh, L., 2015, Assessment of the Robustness of Biofil Toilet Technology for the Treatment of Blackwater. 5th International Dry Toilet Conference
Owusu-Antwi, P., et al., 2015, The Potential of Subsurface Infiltration for the Treatment of Biofil Toilet Technology Effluent. Management Studies, Vol 3.
Knutson, J., 2014, “Evaluation of innovative decentralized sanitation technologies in Ghana. Thesis: M. Eng., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.
Mecca, S. et al., 2013, Application of GSAP Microflush Toilets: a sustainable development approach to rural and per-urban sanitation. ECOSUD 2013, Vol. 175.
Testing performed in Amoah et al (2016) showed pollutant concentrations in the Biofil effluent exceeded both Ghana EPA and WHO standards for discharge. An assessment of the filtration units suggests that none of the elements of the filtering unit was able to attenuate defined parameters to approved Ghana EPA guidelines.
The manufacturer cites reductions in coliform levels by 95.6% and pollutant concentrations in the Biofil effluent exceeding Ghana EPA and WHO standards as evaluation criteria.
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