How four trillion bugs help eat away at waste emissions

There’s something buggy about the biofilter system at our medium-density fiberboard (also called MDF) facility in Columbia Falls, Mont.

The biofilter system’s bugs are microscopic organisms, or bacteria, that clean the air of chemicals released during the manufacturing process.

The system is one of the world’s largest and takes up more than an acre. It houses about four trillion bugs that clean 900,000 cubic feet of air emissions per minute.

Traditionally, emissions from the dryers would be burned in oxidizers, which create their own gases. The oxidizers are also typically fueled by natural gas, which is expensive in remote locations like Columbia Falls.

Using the bugs is a green technology that’s more efficient, uses less energy than other methods and helps our operations meet air quality requirements. Biofilters are also being used at our facilities in Michigan, North Carolina and West Virginia.