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ACUA to Test Microplastic Filtration System at its Wastewater Treatment Facility

Jun 20, 2023


The Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) is partnering with PolyGone, a startup created by Princeton University graduates, to remove microplastics from treated wastewater at its wastewater treatment facility in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

A microplastic filtration system, known as the “Artificial Root,” will be installed to capture particles before the treated wastewater is released into the ocean. The pilot project will be the first of its kind and, if successful, can be replicated at other treatment facilities.

“One of ACUA’s greatest attributes as an environmental leader is its willingness to explore new ideas and research,” said ACUA President Matthew DeNafo. “We are excited to collaborate with PolyGone on this pilot program and do what we can to minimize the harmful effects of microplastics.”

Microplastics are extremely small pieces of plastic debris that result from the breakdown of plastic products. Microplastics are often consumed by marine mammals and are a growing environmental concern. Wastewater treatment plants are not currently designed to treat or remove microplastics.

PolyGone and ACUA have collaborated on a design that will fit into the existing treatment system without causing disruption. ACUA will be providing the site to showcase the new technology, and the pilot project will be fully funded by Polygone.

The two entities will also work together to educate the community about the dangers of microplastics and the pilot project through the construction of an educational pavilion at the facility. ACUA welcomes thousands of visitors each year to its facility for tours to inform the community about its operations. The educational pavilion will allow visitors to witness the pilot in real time and see how it works.

The educational pavilion will be located by the facility's effluent pumping station.

The pilot program is expected to be operational in 2024.

ACUA’s wastewater treatment facility services 14 Atlantic County municipalities. The Authority manages more than 60 miles of pipeline and 134 pump stations located throughout the County that transport wastewater from homes and businesses to the facility. ACUA treats an average of 29 million gallons of wastewater per day. The process is powered through renewable energy generated on-site by five wind turbines and 2,700 solar panels. The site is home to a state-certified water testing laboratory which ensures the facility is meeting all environmental quality standards.

Visit to learn more about ACUA’s wastewater treatment process and visit to learn about PolyGone.