Village Protects Long Island Bay from Storm Water Runoff
Green infrastructure solution protects against storm water contamination
The village of Babylon, located on the southern coast of Long Island, and Abtech Holdings Inc., announced the results of a five-year study exploring the efficacy of AbTech’s proprietary Smart Sponge filtration technology in preventing storm water contamination of The Great South Bay and the nearby Long Island Sound.
The study, which analyzed the contents of AbTech’s Smart Pak cartridges from two outfall pipe installations located at Green and Alexander Avenues, found that Babylon’s existing installations captured approximately 1,600 lb of total contaminants from storm water annually, including 1,400 lb of toxic hydrocarbons.
“Untreated storm water runoff is the single greatest source of water pollution in the United States, and the Great South Bay has been particularly affected with the intense development of Long Island,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., president of the Waterkeeper Alliance. “Municipalities are at the heart of the fight to preserve water resources for future generations and Babylon has set the bar for cities nationwide in reducing the runoff of fertilizers, pesticides, pathogens and petroleum products.”
In 2008, Babylon announced its plans to retrofit 96 outfall pipes with AbTech’s storm water treatment systems, utilizing a matching grant of $310,000 provided by Suffolk County once testing was complete. The initiative marked one of the first efforts nationwide by a municipality to address storm water pollution using a green infrastructure solution. It is expected that once all 96 installations are complete, collectively more than 8,000 lb of contaminants, including 7,000 lb of toxic hydrocarbons will be prevented from entering The Great South Bay annually.
“When we set our storm water management plan in motion, we hoped it would serve as an attainable model for our neighbors throughout Suffolk County,” said Village of Babylon Mayor Ralph Scordino. “But after seeing these results, we are confident that our model will be employed throughout the country.”
AbTech’s treatment systems cost Babylon between $5,000 and $6,000 per unit to install and are retrofitted into existing storm water infrastructure, eliminating the need for costly new construction. The systems require no electricity and minimal maintenance, and are effective at removing over 85% of toxic hydrocarbons from storm water, in addition to sediments, heavy metals and other harmful pollutants. Once absorbed, hydrocarbons are permanently bound to the Smart Sponge polymer and cannot be leached away. Spent Smart Sponge material can be landfilled or burned as a high BTU, low emissions fuel source.
Babylon will begin installation of additional storm water treatment systems in November.