Upflow Filter for Rapid and Effective Treatment of Stormwater at Critical Source Areas

EPA Contract Number: 68D03068
Title: Upflow Filter for Rapid and Effective Treatment of Stormwater at Critical Source Areas
Investigators: Raghavan, Ramjee
Small Business: U.S. Infrastructure Inc.
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: II
Project Period: October 1, 2003 through December 31, 2004
Project Amount: $225,000
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase II (2003) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , Water and Watersheds , SBIR - Water and Wastewater


This Phase II research project is designed to develop and demonstrate the effectiveness of upflow filtration setups for the treatment of stormwater runoff. To show improvement in water quality in many urban areas, it will be necessary to either collect the stormwater runoff in a central location and treat it, or install and maintain many small treatment devices throughout the area. The goal of this research project is to develop a low-cost, low-maintenance upflow filter that can be installed in-line and can effectively remove a wide range of pollutants. This filter setup has the potential to be low-cost, low-maintenance, and not require electricity at the individual installation locations. The potential market for this device includes owners of critical source areas (industrial facilities, municipalities, state transportation departments, service stations), meaning those persons whose stormwater runoff does not meet the standards for the receiving water to which it is being discharged. Many of these people are small business owners without significant capital for investing in large-scale, complex treatment facilities. A successful low-cost, low-maintenance upflow filter for stormwater treatment would allow owners to meet the upcoming requirements for treating their runoff without incurring the tremendous financial burden that would result not only from the purchase of a complex device, but also from the ongoing maintenance costs.

Phase I results have demonstrated on a laboratory scale that upflow filtration using sand, a peat moss-sand mixture, and a compost-sand mixture as the media during testing has the potential to remove particulates and the pollutants associated with particulates to effluent turbidity levels of less than 5-10 Nephelometric Turbidity Units (NTU). The lifespan of the filters in the laboratory indicates a lifespan in the field without maintenance of at least 1 year in locations draining typical urban runoff. This is desirable and meets the goal of low maintenance. The Phase II research project is designed to demonstrate the concept in the field with testing at two locations, one in Harrisburg, PA, and one in Tuscaloosa, AL. These sites provide the opportunity to evaluate the filters in areas with snowmelt runoff and where rainfall energies are high (extreme conditions for filter operation).

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 13 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

small business, SBIR, EPA, stormwater runoff, stormwater runoff treatment, critical source area, upflow filtration, filter, water treatment, pollutants, sand, peat moss, compost, Scientific Discipline, Water, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Ground Water, Wastewater, Environmental Chemistry, Wet Weather Flows, Engineering, Chemistry, & Physics, Environmental Engineering, Water Pollution Control, aqueous impurities, wastewater treatment, combined sewage outflows, contaminated waters, runoff, urban runoff, stormwater treatment, municipal wastewater, stormwater, aqueous waste, water quality, wastewater discharges, upflow filter, storm drainage, stormwater runoff, aqueous waste stream

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report

  • SBIR Phase I:

    Upflow Filters for the Rapid and Effective Treatment of Stormwater at Critical Source Areas  | Final Report