City of Long Beach Tackles Stormwater Pollution to Protect the Public's Health and Keep Its Beaches Open

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Test results from pilot program prove technology’s effectiveness in killing harmful, illness-causing bacteria and preventing beach closures.

The City of Long Beach, California announced today the success of a progressive stormwater management pilot program aimed at preventing harmful, illness-causing bacteria from contaminating city beaches and other recreational waters. The program uses a unique technology called the Smart Sponge, which kills bacteria such as E. coli, fecal coliform and enterococcus on contact and also removes other harmful substances like gasoline, oil & grease as well as sediment and debris. The Smart Sponge product is non-toxic, non-leaching, and is fully recyclable.

As part of the study, over 1,950 Smart Sponge filters were placed in targeted stormdrain catch basin inlets throughout the City of Long Beach beginning in August 2004. Continual testing has gone on since late 2004. In a recent testing of over ten sample locations throughout the City of Long Beach, the Smart Sponge® Plus filters successfully destroyed a very high percentage of bacteria, including E. coli and other fecal coliform, with an average destruction rate of over 79 percent and a maximum destruction rate of 97 percent.

Tom Leary, Stormwater Management Division Officer, Long Beach Public Works Department, said “Our number one priority is to protect the public’s health. With over 11 miles of public beaches and Colorado Lagoon, one of the few remaining inland recreational water bodies, the presence of bacteria and other harmful pathogens in our stormwater and urban runoff poses risks to human health, particularly after heavy rainfall. “I am pleased with the results of the pilot program in dramatically reducing bacteria in our stormdrains and thus allowing us to keep our beaches safe and open to the public. We hope to receive continued support from local and federal officials to sustain our efforts and expand the program,” stated Leary.

Glenn Rink, Founder & President of AbTech Industries, makers of the Smart Sponge technology stated, “We are very excited to report the continued success of our filtration technology and are thrilled with the results from the Long Beach program. Tests over the last year have demonstrated the ability of the Smart Sponge to continually and consistently remove bacteria, trash and debris with only routine maintenance as well as confirmed its effectiveness and longevity,” said Rink.

According to a recent published report in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology, water pollution caused by high levels of bacteria, sickens as many as 1.5 million swimmers annually in the Southern California area beaches and causes millions of dollars in public healthcare costs. “This is a true testament to the City of Long Beach and Tom Leary for their aggressive and foresighted approach in keeping their beaches clean. “Long Beach is clearly setting the standard for municipalities interested in protecting their beaches as well as their community and we look forward to working with them to help maintain and expand its stormwater management program,” added Rink.

Over the next year, the City of Long Beach will continue its study to validate the project's success and carefully monitor the reductions in bacteria, hydrocarbons, trash and debris captured and/or destroyed by the Smart Sponge filters before going into the City's waterways or onto its beaches. AbTech Industries will also continue to work with the city to service, maintain, and help monitor the catch basins installed with Smart Sponge filters.

About AbTech Industries

AbTech Industries, Inc., based in Scottsdale, Arizona, provides communities and industries with customized solutions to control or remove bacteria that are threatening the quality of our nation’s waterways while at the same time removing trash and debris as well as petroleum products such as gasoline, oil & grease.

AbTech’s products incorporate a polymer-based filtration material, the Smart Sponge®, a technology that effectively removes pollutants from flowing or pooled water, encapsulating them so that they cannot be released back into the environment even under high pressure. In addition, AbTech is the first company to combine an antimicrobial agent in its filtration material and provide the first solution that effectively destroys bacteria at the street level.

The Environmental Protection Agency has included AbTech’s Ultra-Urban® Filter series with Smart Sponge technology as a Best Management Practice (BMP) under the federal environmental guidelines that apply to local and state governments. Please visit: http://www.abtechindustries.com to learn more about AbTech Industries’ Smart Sponge Plus technology.

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Don Thompson
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