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Heavy Metals


Numerous industrial plants have new tighter wastewater regulations being imposed. This can be observed with the often-lowered acceptable levels of phosphorus and heavy metals a plant can send to a POTW or to surface discharge under a NPDES permit. AbTech’s Smart Sponge HM (heavy metals) technology is an excellent phosphorus and metals polisher for added insurance to meet compliance.  


In most municipal and industrial plants with biological wastewater treatment, supplemental phosphorus must be added to insure an adequate supply for bacterial growth.  But nutrient enrichment of receiving waters is a major water quality issue in North America.  The USEPA, states and provinces have or are adding phosphorus discharge limits to industrial discharge permits, sometimes at very low levels. Many plants already have limits for phosphorus and are struggling to achieve compliance –using aerated lagoons and activated sludge processes.  


Elemental selenium is relatively nontoxic and is considered to be an essential trace element however, it quickly becomes toxic at higher than recommended levels.  Additionally, hydrogen selenide (H2Se) and several other selenium compounds are known to be extremely toxic.  Physical deformities and reproductive failure have been noted in several aquatic species exposed to selenium at 10 µg/l which due to bioaccumulating, resulted in tissue concentrations at 510 - 1395 times greater levels (Lemly, 2002).

Other Metals

Due to the discharge of large amounts of metal-contaminated wastewater, industries faced with the problem of by-products of heavy metals, such as Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni, As, Pb, Hg and Zn, must comply with environmental regulations.  If large quantities of these heavy metals are ingested beyond the permitted concentration, they can cause serious health disorders. Therefore, it is necessary to treat metal contaminated wastewater prior to its discharge to the environment. 

Why Smart Sponge HM is Ideal in Heavy Metals Water Applications


Chemically selective towards hydrocarbons


Will not absorb water

Total Absorption 

Absorbs up to 3 times its weight in hydrocarbons


Organosilane derivative used to reduce coliform bacteria 

High Flow Rate

Able to pass 80 GPM/ft3

High Porosity 

Contaminant molecules diffuse and absorb into the voids until the matrix is saturated

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Reduces Cadmium, Copper, Chromium, Lead, Zinc, Iron, Arsenic, Selenium, and Ortho-Phosphate


Capable of removing up to 98% of selected heavy metals

AbTech Smart Sponge® HM (heavy metals) uses renewable resource based metal nanocomposites extruded into an adsorptive sponge media.  The media binds with heavy metals resulting in removal rates as high as 98%. The following table shows the highest level of removal achieved with the media.  When applied as a polisher to primary treatment, Smart Sponge® HM reduces heavy metals to ultra-low levels to meet discharge requirements. It can be applied in a pressurized vessel or atmospheric tank; it can be regenerated onsite, as a service, or taken to an offsite treatment facility for regeneration.  

Metals Removal Rates

Innovating Towards the Future


Heavy Metals Products

AbTech Ultra-Urban® Filter
(Drain Insert and Curb Openings) 

The Ultra-Urban Filter is an innovative low-cost BMP that helps meet NPDES requirements with effective filtration, efficient application, simple installation, and low maintenance.  It is capable of removing hydrocarbons from water, as well as capturing trash, debris, and sediment.

Oil Sheen Removal + Oil Spill Cleanup

AbTech booms and skimmers will resolve your oil sheen or oil spill problems:  these products remove or greatly reduce sheen, will not absorb water, and effectively transform pollutants into a stable solid waste generally approved for landfill disposal by the EPA because the trapped hydrocarbons typically do not leak or leach.

AbTech Smart Vault™

The Smart Vault is a comprehensive and cost effective solution for treating stormwater runoff. The vault utilizes AbTech's patented Smart Sponge filtration media to remove contaminants and can be retrofitted into existing collection systems included in new construction or redevelopment projects.

AbTech End-of-Pipe

Water Quality Unit

The EOP Water Quality Unit is an inexpesive, durable, and lightweight three section tank that comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, with variations of installed Smart Sponge media that can help to reduce hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and bacteria.

AbTech Smart Drum™ for Impoundments, Ponds and Above Ground Water Storage

The Smart Drum™ HAC (Hydrocarbon Absorption Canister) is ideally suited for free phase and emulsified hydrocarbon removal for industrial wastewater process streams, hazardous waste remediation, produced water and many other hydrocarbon removal applications. The Smart Drum™ is perfect for active prevention of oil sheen on above ground water storage used for frac flowback, produced water and industrial process streams.  

Other Solutions

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