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Green Technology for Stormwater Runoff

Soaking it up

Stormwater runoff is generated from rain and snowmelt events that flow over land or impervious surfaces, such as paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops, and does not soak into the ground. The runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, oils, and dirt/sediment that can harm our rivers, streams, lakes, and coastal waters. To protect these resources, communities, construction companies, industries, and others, use stormwater controls, known as best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs filter out pollutants and/or prevent pollution by controlling it at its source.

The NPDES stormwater program regulates some stormwater discharges from three potential sources: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities. Operators of these sources might be required to obtain an NPDES permit before they can discharge stormwater. This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters.

Population growth and the development of urban/urbanized areas are major contributors to the amount of pollutants in the runoff as well as the volume and rate of runoff from impervious surfaces. Together, they can cause changes in hydrology and water quality that result in habitat modification and loss, increased flooding, decreased aquatic biological diversity, and increased sedimentation and erosion. The benefits of effective stormwater runoff management can include:

  • protection of wetlands and aquatic ecosystems,

  • improved quality of receiving waterbodies,

  • conservation of water resources,

  • protection of public health, and

  • flood control

Traditional stormwater management approaches that rely on peak flow storage have generally not targeted pollutant reduction and can exacerbate problems associated with changes in hydrology and hydraulics.

Products incorporating Smart Sponge technology are non-mechanical, do not require structural changes to stormwater systems and are easily installed and maintained, often requiring only one person and no equipment. Products such as the Ultra-Urban Filter with Smart Sponge Inside fit into most existing catch basins. The Smart Sponge technology is deployed in products that offer customized solutions for stormwater pollution prevention, oil spill response, process water filtration and other industrial applications to meet specific environmental needs. AbTech Industries offers an extensive product line that is upgradeable to meet evolving community needs and regulatory requirements.

Disposal Options

As local conditions, product use, and exposure can vary widely, the end user must determine the

most appropriate disposal method for Smart Sponge® product. However Smart Sponge samples

with hydrocarbons pollutants have been tested according to the EPA’s Toxicity Characteristic

Leaching Procedure (“TCLP”). These tests show that Smart Sponge is a “non-leaching”

(i.e., non-detect or “N.D.”) product. As a result, Smart Sponge allows many cost effective and

environmentally friendly disposal options. The following waste disposal and resource recovery

industries have accepted Smart Sponge products for disposal and/or recycling.

Waste-to-Energy (WTE) Facilities - A specialized segment of the solid waste industry use Smart

Sponge as an alternative fuel in the production of electricity. WTE is acknowledged at the federal

level as a renewable energy source under the Federal Power Act, Title IV of the Clean Air Act and

is a participant in the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Program.

Cement Kilns - This industry uses Smart Sponge as an alternative fuel in the production process of Portland Cement.

This process is considered a beneficial reuse of waste products. The BTU value of Smart Sponge is consistently above the average acceptable levels set for this high temperature.

Landfills - As discussed above, Smart Sponge products have been classified as a solid waste and are accepted at Subtitle D Landfills.

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