Technical Info: Heavy Metals

Because of their high solubility in the aquatic environment, heavy metals can be absorbed by living organisms and can accumulate, causing potentially serious health disorders. To address the environmental considerations, metal-contaminated water needs to be treated prior to discharge into the environment. 


Due to the discharge of large amounts of metal-contaminated wastewater from industrial sites, marine facilities and boatyards, regulations for heavy metal effluent limits are becoming stricter due to their potential environmental impact.

Leachate generation is a major problem for municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and causes a significant threat to surface water and groundwater. Because landfill leachate varies widely in composition depending on the age of the landfill and type of waste, it usually contains both dissolved and suspended solids. Depending on the landfill operation, leachate can flow directly into the groundwater. 

Metals in sOIL: remediation

Soils may become contaminated by the accumulation of heavy metals from scrap metal recycling, mine tailings, manufacturing, gas, fertilizers, sewage sludge, pesticides and many other sources.  


Heavy metals commonly found in stormwater include copper, lead and zinc, from:

  • Rooftop runoff 

  • Parking lots

  • Street runoff


Licensed exclusively to CleanWay® Environmental Partners, MetalZorb was originally developed under the name FORAGER® Sponge. The remediation of ground water using FORAGER Sponge is described in EPA Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation Report EPA/540/R-94/522.


To help achieve regulatory compliance and improve environmental stewardship, CleanWay offers MetalZorb® to remove soluble and/or particulate heavy metals including lead, zinc, copper, chromium, iron, mercury, nickel and more

MetalZorb captures and holds accumulated metals from being released to downstream waterways. It's also effective at recovering valuable metals such as gold from mining operations. Basically, any water that has metal in it, we can treat.

In a small footprint, MetalZorb effectively reduces, removes or recovers heavy metals with:

  • No backwash required
  • High flow rate
  • Lightweight media
  • High capacity
  • Fast absorption 


MetalZorb sponge cubes, available by the cubic foot, can fill a “conduit” or filtration insert, sized for the flow volume at each location. When confined in a filtration insert, they offer little impedance to water flowing through the unit and are not clogged by suspended solids. Sponge media can be compacted into Absorption Booms, as standalone treatment or in a treatment train. Effective ground water remediation can also be achieved by vertically positioning Absorption Booms filled with MetalZorb at the gate of a barrier wall funnel system.       

To ensure ongoing efficacy, MetalZorb sponge product should be periodically retrieved and replaced with fresh sponge. Learn more about disposal considerations.

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