Colorado's National Park Service Chooses the Smart Sponge® as Clean Water Cure for Three Curecanti Recreational Marinas

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Smart Sponge catch basin inserts selected by the National Park Service to help control stormwater runoff pollution.

AbTech Industries’ Smart Sponge® technology is most commonly associated with filtration systems that are currently cleaning up polluted street runoff in the storm drains of 27 states. However, the Smart Sponge’s versatility makes it ideal for a variety of applications. The National Park Service selected the technology for use in three marinas in the beautiful Curecanti National Recreation Area in west-central Colorado.

Bo Simon, owner of Gear Up Construction -- the pipeline contractor who installed 22 catch basin filters containing Smart Sponge filtration media -- said, “The parks department initiated the ‘Lake Fork, Elk Creek, and Iola Project -- Storm Drainage System Improvement’ to clean up the contaminants from the parking lots, camp grounds, and boat launching areas in the marinas near Lake Fork, Elk Creek, and Iola. The aim was to prevent gas, oil, hydrocarbons, and other pollutants from flowing directly into the lakes and rivers through the storm drain system.”

Simon said the company installed AbTech’s Ultra Urban® Filters in two different kinds of storm drains to capture the runoff. “The Smart Sponge technology is a novel concept -- and practical too. The catch basin inserts are modular units that are easy to install and maintain. They’re going to provide long-term protection of this area’s national resources.”

Bill Platts, head of TRS and a partner in Facilities Support Services, whose company represents AbTech and other environmentally sensitive companies, said that the product was unique in a number of ways. “AbTech’s Smart Sponge filtration systems are non-leaching and easy to recycle in a waste-to-energy site. They also have a proven track record of effectiveness -- the filters encapsulate and successfully remove harmful substances before they enter waterways. Because of their ease of use, we can provide customized solutions to meet our customers’ needs to improve and protect water quality.”

Platts explained the importance of preserving the Curecanti National Recreation Area. “This is one of our nation’s natural treasures. Three reservoirs form the heart of the area and one of them, the blue Mesa, is Colorado’s largest body of water, home to the largest Kokanee Salmon fishery in the United States.”

In addition, the area contains a 5,000-acre archaeological district, with traces of 6,000 year old dwellings and dinosaur fossils. The beauty of Curecanti is enhanced by panoramic mesas, fjord-like reservoirs, and steep, narrow canyons.

Glenn Rink, AbTech’s President and CEO, said that water pollution is one of our nation’s most critical environmental issues. “According the Environmental Protection Agency, over 40 percent of our nation’s waterways is on an impaired list, which means they are not safe for human health. The EPA counts stormwater runoff as the leading cause of the poor quality of our nation’s waterways, inland and coastal,” he said.

Rink explained that AbTech Industries developed the Smart Sponge® filtration media over a five-year period of intensive research and development. The material is made of a blend of polymers used to effectively absorb contaminants from water, and then to stabilize and retain them in a gel-like structure.

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 guidelines that local governments must follow. Rink said that while the majority of his customers are municipalities using AbTech’s stormwater catch basin products, the company uses the same superior technology to provide products for other customers. “We have designed products to capture hazardous runoff in commercial areas, such as parking lots, gas stations, airports, industrial sites, and marinas. The catch basin filters were well suited for the marinas near Lake Fork, Elk Creek, and Iola,” he said.

AbTech Industries, headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, is dedicated to developing innovative clean water solutions to meet community and industrial needs. It produces Best Management Practice (BMP) equipment for nonpoint source pollution and storm water control, filters for storm drains and catch basins, and devices that skim and capture oil from still or flowing water. AbTech’s products are based on its proprietary polymer-based filtration material that’s fully recyclable and provides a complete, closed-loop solution for removing pollutants from water. AbTech is the only company to combine an antimicrobial agent in a polymer-based filter to destroy bacteria at the street level. This product -- called the Smart Sponge® Plus -- is now being used by many municipalities to address nonpoint source pollution. For more information, please visit http://www.abtechindustries.com.

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Don Thompson
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