American Peat Technology, LLC

- Remediation Media


From stormwater treatment and mine dewatering to process water polishing, APTsorb is the go-to tool for today’s water remediation professional. APTsorb is a proven performer against dissolved heavy metals in a wide variety of waste streams, and yet is cost-effective from initial start-up to final disposal.

If you’ve had experience with using peat products in the past, and they have underwhelmed you, let APTsorb change your thinking. The toxin-filtering ability of wetlands is well-documented, but until now, natural peat has not been a widely-accepted alternative for wastewater treatment. APTsorb retains natural peat’s affinity for heavy metals, but transforms it through thermal and chemical treatment into a hardened granule that has favorable hydraulic conductivity and structural strength.

The media is effective against dissolved heavy metals such as zinc, lead, copper, cadmium, chromium, manganese, nickel and cobalt. Additionally, the angular granular structure of the media acts as a physical filter. This means that in some cases, the media will treat both suspended and dissolved metals in the same contact vessel. In the proper system design, the media can be back flushed to remove solids.

APTsorb is easy to deploy. The media can be used in almost any structure, tank, vault, boom sock or in-ground cell as long as the flow rate can be controlled. The capacity of the media is dependent on the metals of concern, competing ions and water chemistry and is cost-effective for most applications. The media can also be used in a treatment train to polish water prior to discharge or to remove selected ions within the treatment system.

In most cases, we provide treatability testing in our research and development lab in order to assess the effectiveness of our media against different water. That testing is generally carried out without charge. We require some information before testing. Please contact us and have the following information available:

  • What type of water are you treating (stormwater, mine dewatering discharge, truck wash water, etc)?
  • What volumes need to be treated?
  • What flow rates need to be treated?
  • What are the metals of concern?
  • What are the concentrations of the metals of concern?
  • What other background metals are present? (If you have any characterizations, monitoring reports, etc. that would be helpful.)
  • How is the water currently being treated?
  • What other treatment systems have been tried?
  • What are the site limitations (small footprint, airborne contaminants, etc.)?

APTsorb is a versatile water treatment media that meshes well with many existing industries and standard equipment. In addition, once the media is spent, disposal is easy to handle because generally, the media meets the EPA’s TCLP limits and can be disposed of as non-hazardous solid waste.

Industrial uses include:

  • Stormwater remediation
    • Parking lots
    • Construction sites
    • Galvanized roof runoff
  • Process water treatment
    • Laboratories
    • Manufacturing facilities
    • Plating shops


  • Mining
    • Acid mine drainage sites
    • Mine dewatering
    • Abandoned mine remediation

APTsorb lends itself well to conventional filtration equipment, including:

  • Columns
  • Open-top or passive containers
  • Standard sand filters
  • Pressurized contactors
  • Boom socks
  • Potentially, as an amendment in contaminated soils

In general, APTsorb cannot be regenerated. The complex chemical nature of the bonding mechanisms result in surface-metal bonds that are not easily broken. Regeneration is costly and incomplete. However, the strength of those bonds also translates into favorable leaching results. Although it is up to the end user to determine if spent media meets TCLP limits for non-hazardous waste disposal, current data suggest that spent APTsorb meets EPA guidelines when used in conventional conditions. Contact us for guidance on meeting TCLP limits.

A Cost-Effective Solution

Unlike most synthetic resins, APTsorb’s diverse mechanisms of sorption result in unusual loading curves. Simply put, different cations approach different functional groups in different ways. In that respect, coefficients of kinetic loading are not uniform throughout the life of the granule. That presents some challenges to using APTsorb, but also makes it an attractive solution for many applications.

As mentioned under the Description tab, ion-exchange is most likely one of the primary mechanisms of adsorption. Those sites are extremely active, making APTsorb an excellent candidate for a final polishing step in a conventional treatment regime. If residence times are within limits, APTsorb is simply unwilling to let most metals with a 2+ valance, and some with a 3+ valance, through.  Much of our research has centered on cadmium, and current data indicate that the ion-exchange sites, by themselves, can be loaded to about 3.5 mg Cd per gram of APTsorb.

The other functional groups are also active against cadmium. Our data indicate that APTsorb’s total capacity approaches 25 mg Cd per gram. The different coefficients across the loading mechanisms suggest, and our research confirms, that attacking a wastewater with a counter-current stream is effective. As the upstream granule is spent, it is replaced with fresh media at the end of the stream. This takes advantage of the different coefficients of loading and uses the granule to its fullest extent.

APTsorb’s cost-effective pricing structure, which is about a tenth of traditional resins, translates into larger contactors that can address increased flow volumes. For this reason, APTsorb is an ideal candidate for stormwater remediation or applications where large volumes of water are complicated by relatively low concentrations of contaminants.

Although much of our research has focused on cadmium remediation, we have also partially described APTsorb’s activity against copper and lead, and to a lesser extent, nickel, zinc, cobalt, chromium and manganese. Contact us for more information about how APTsorb will perform with your particular wastewater.

An Environmentally-Friendly Alternative

Traditional sorption resins are synthetic, petroleum-based polymers. They are an effective tool for wastewater remediation, but in the long run, they are not sustainable. The economic and environmental costs of producing oil can only increase as competing manufacturing sectors continue to demand slices of an-already uncertain natural resource. Even now, factors such as sustainability and actual environmental costs enter more often into thoughtful purchasing decisions. Being green is no longer a secondary, abstract consideration.

APTsorb is not made from petroleum products. It is made from easily-accessible, environmentally-safe peat. From field harvest to final shipping, we strive to be a good steward of the resource entrusted to us. And in many ways, our raw material makes it easy for us. Harvesting peat is much more like farming than mining. The material is essentially harmless at all stages: in the deposit itself, in processing, in transport and in use by the consumer. Unlike petroleum, the site where peat is harvested, while certainly disturbed, is not inhospitable. We often see wildlife on our peat fields, and we comply with strict de-watering regulations to ensure that we are not sending any problems downstream.

Technically, and according to the US definition, peat is not a renewable resource. Finland is the only country to classify peat as renewable. At an accumulation rate of about 3 centimeters per year, most long-range business plans, including our own, take into account the value of the current resource. We have acquired a core of knowledge about alternative raw materials in our desire to produce a truly sustainable product. For instance, we already know that certain composting processes can produce a raw material not unlike our current peat. Our research includes efforts to produce a consistent, high-quality raw material using natural and native vegetation. We hope that in the future we will be offering a filtration media that is 100 percent sustainable, through the use of low-value, diverse cover crops that convey environmental benefits during the growing season. In the meantime, we will continue to judiciously harvest our current deposit so that we can explore the market for a safe and environmentally-friendly alternative to petroleum-based resins.

Check out our Plant Operations page under the Technology link for more information about how we continually seek to green our production of our entire line of products.

Our harvesting operation uses low-impact equipment to gently remove only the top several inches of our peat deposit each year. There are no open pits or gaping scars in our peat fields. Our deposit is only a mile away from our processing plant, which means that we are not using precious resources to truck raw material long distances. Inside our processing plant itself, we use a bio-fuel combustor to do the bulk of our drying operations.

APTsorb is an innovative, environmentally-friendly sorption media for dissolved heavy metals. It is made of physically-, thermally-, and chemically-modified red-sedge peat harvested from the abundant reserves of North America. It capitalizes on the known sorption mechanisms and capacities of natural peat while improving on those qualities that have limited peat’s use in wastewater treatment in the past.

APTsorb is a low-cost alternative to traditional resins and excels in applications such as polishing prior to discharge, storm water treatment, and waste waters with low pHs.

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