AbTech Sucking Up Pollution

Oil drips to the ground at the neighborhood filling station-from cars and trucks passing through and from the rows of storage tanks. The spill sits on the cement innocently enough, but takes on a life of its own when rain pummels to the ground. With the force of rain, the oil snakes its way towards the storm drain and slithers towards the coast. There it joins the other pollutants that arrive by leaching into rivers flowing into the ocean. Water pollution is a huge issue: In fact, the annual global petroleum pollution alone, is comparable to the Exxon Valdez spilling 5 times over!

Water pollution comes in many forms including industrial or sewage pollution. But nonpoint source pollution (NPS)-pollution from a variety of sources-is much harder to track. In the U.S, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explains that “NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters, and even our underground sources of drinking water.”


Vacationers who have come to find their favorite surfing spot inaccessible because of unhealthy toxicity levels in the water leave disappointed, while wells supplying water to cities are often closed due to chemical leaks into the groundwater. ABtech Industries, Inc, a technology firm focusing on solving the issue of water pollutants, has figured out a solution by developing products that absorb the many harmful pollutants that find their way to our water supplies and beaches. AbTech explains that their products are “based on polymer technologies capable of removing hydrocarbons, bacterial pathogens, sediment and other foreign elements from still (ponds, lakes and marinas) or flowing water (curbside drains, pipe outflows, rivers and oceans).”

AbTech’s Smart SpongeĀ®, for example, fully encapsulates oil, soaking it up so effectively that it won’t leak out. A surprising fact is that the absorbed oils and pollutants don’t stay liquid once absorbed. The Sponge transforms the pollutants into a solid form which make the recycling process much simpler. The technology is ideal for use in Marinas, where boaters would discharge clean water from bilge pumps with the use of the sponge and AbTech is proud to say that the “proprietary polymer technology unique in its ability to effectively remove, absorb and retain hydrocarbons from flowing or pooled water and is the only company to combine an anti- microbial agent in a polymer-based filter to destroy bacteria at the street level.” The Smart Sponge can simply be placed at storm drain entrances to filter out the harmful bacteria and oils before they even get a chance to surprise unsuspecting beachgoers.

AbTech goes on explaining that their lab tests prove that the Smart Sponge is able to absorb up to 5 times its own weight, and will remove oil from water regardless of the amount. This means that even the thin sheen of oils floating on top of water can be absorbed without a problem.

Costing almost $1000 a piece, a Smart Sponge is a worthy investment for cleaner and healthier water. A sponge is more appealing than the complicated ultraviolet or chlorine treatments (also expensive options) and is even reusable (up to a point).

It isn’t a surprise that AbTech was named the winner of the water management category at the 2008 GoingGreen event. Even the EPA lists the Smart Sponge Technology as a Best Management Practice and it would be government money put to good use.

Time to suck up the oil that’s spit into our waters.


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  1. [...] EcoWorld.com there is an article on this company (AbTech), who are developing technologies and products to help clean up oil from [...]


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