The prime competitor to the biofilter is activated sludge - which controls perhaps 95 percent of the market. However, the first two commercial scale projects confirmed that the investment cost is 30 percent lower, and even more important, the operational expenses dropped by 70 percent mainly thanks to cutting electricity cost by 66 percent. Then, on average each cubic meter requires polymers and flocculation agents. None of this is required in the biofilter system. In addition, every traditional water treatment plant generates 500 grams of sludge per cubic meter treated, this system generates nothing. The system reduces the need for labor, putting some 15,000 earthworms per square meter to work 24 hours a day for 7 days per week.
The additional advantage is that each cubic meter of treated water generates 60 grams of humus, a by-product enjoying increased demand. While earthworms have been used as a medicine in China, its use as an immune system booster for patients who have undergone chemotherapy or have been infected by AIDS, has been recognized in various studies. The combination of reducing expenses on one hand and increasing revenues on the other is a change of the rules of the game. This offers the simple and basic biofilter technology a strong market potential.