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The City of Long Beach, Calif. has announced the success of a progressive storm water management pilot program aimed at preventing harmful, illness-causing bacteria from contaminating city beaches and other recreational waters.
The program uses a technology called the Smart Sponge, which kills bacteria such as E. coli, fecal coliform and enterococcus on contact, and also removes harmful substances such as gasoline, oil, sediment and debris.
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 starting in August 2004. In a recent testing of over ten sample locations, filters successfully destroyed a 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.
"Our number one priority is to protect the public’s health,” said Tom Leary, stormwater management division officer of the Long Beach Public Works Department. "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."
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 beaches. AbTech Industries, makers of the Smart Sponge filters, will also continue to work with the city to service, maintain, and help monitor the catch basins installed with the filters.