Stormwater is just rain, snow, or any other type of precipitation once it hits the ground. When stormwater lands on a natural surface it soaks into the ground, but when it lands on a built surface it runs off and concentrates. If this concentrated stormwater is not managed it can cause erosion, carry pollution to streams and lakes, and cause flooding.
Infiltronics Environmental was founded in 2014 by Dr. Kathleen Trauth to hold intellectual property for a stormwater management device. The patent for this device was issued to Dr. Trauth in 2016. The company has been actively involved in testing and commercialization activities for the patented device since 2017. Infiltronics Environmental's goal is to help engineers and developers easily and cost effectively meet stormwater regulations, while at the same time dramatically improving soil and water quality in and around their sites.
The core technology Infiltronics Environmental is working to develop is a patented stormwater redistribution and infiltration device that functions as a Best Management Practice (BMP). The device works by taking stormwater that has concentrated on something like a parking lot, roof, or roadway and putting it back into the soil where it can be redistributed and allowed to infiltrate, mimicking natural processes. It is composed of geo-textile fabric segments and a variety of aggregates. The goal of the device is not simply conveyance (like a french drain). Instead, the configuration of aggregate segments moves water at a rate and throughout a landscape to maximize infiltration vertically and horizontally before moving the water longitudinally (3-D flow) along the length of the installation. The ability to essentially engineer this 3-D flow throughout a landscape, and make it specific to each site, is the crux of the innovation.
In 2017 Infiltronics Environmental participated in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Innovation Corps (I-Corps) Program to conduct extensive customer discovery and make sure we were actually solving a problem for someone, not just making something we thought was cool. Over 200 interviews were conducted across the U.S. with regulators, engineers, developers, contractors, environmental groups, and technology companies in the stormwater industry to learn what their problems are and how we can create a solution to solve them. We addressed the technical unknowns around the device by first running lab experiments. During these experiments we were able to produce 3-D flow and continuous flow from longitudinal segment to segment. This led to us pursuing field testing. Field testing is in progress at several sites and soil moisture data is being collected to demonstrate the functionality of the device.
The installation at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School manages concentrated flow. Soil moisture data is currently being collected on the site.
The first site at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park manages overland flow. Soil moisture data is currently being collected on the site. The projects at the state park are being conducted as part of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources research program.
The second site at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park manages both concentrated and continuous flow and soil moisture data is currently being collected. The projects at the state park are being conducted as part of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources research program.
The installation at Shaw Nature Reserve manages overland flow. In total, eight small installations make up the one large installation. Soil moisture data is currently being collected on the site. The project is being conducted as a research project at Shaw Nature Reserve, an extension of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
We currently have four test installations, one at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, two at Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, and one at Shaw Nature Reserve, an extension of the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The Fr. Tolton site was recently extended, doubling it in size. Additional sensors have been installed around the site and flow meters will be added soon.
In addition to our installations at Fr. Tolton Catholic High School, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, and Shaw Nature Reserve, we are in the process of securing additional testing locations around the State of Missouri.
We are continuing to collect and analyze data from our installations and are non-resident clients of the Missouri Innovation Center and members of the REDI Innovation HUB and Mizzou Venture Mentoring Service.