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Stormwater: Imbrium Systems’ Stormceptor MAX

When it came time for the aging Autoroute Felix-Leclerc highway to receive much-needed upgrades to its large stormwater drainage network, Imbrium Systems was there to provide a customized solution.

Located on the northern shore of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec, the highway sees an average of 140,000 cars a day, generating large amounts of potentially harmful pollutants. To comply with new Quebec stormwater treatment regulations, the highway needed to treat the heavily polluted water it was discharging back into the adjacent Orme River. But there was a problem: traditional stormwater solutions, like oil and grit separators, would not have worked in such a large treatment area. The engineers involved in the project needed to turn to custom-designed solutions instead.>

Enter Imbrium’s Stormceptor MAX, a customized stormwater treatment device especially equipped to treat runoff from large areas because of its flexible modular design that fits different site requirements. The device has been used by the City of Toronto to treat runoff on its waterfront to protect Lake Ontario, as well as by the City of Kitchener and in the Alberta oil sands.

According to Imbrium’s regional manager, Reagan Davidson, the Stormceptor MAX device is effective because it “slows incoming stormwater to create a non-turbulent treatment environment,” which then allows free oils and debris to rise while sediment settles. The system would effectively remove the high levels of toxic, fine particulate material and oils that were entering the Orme River.>

Quebec’s Ministry of Transportation, along with engineers at Dessau Longueuil, saw the value of the device and, in 2014, designed a new stormwater management system for the highway that incorporated two Stormceptor MAX systems and new storm drains.

“With 80 per cent of the surrounding surface impervious, the new treatment system is designed to capture an estimated 220 cubic metres—over 150 tons—of sediment annually,” Davidson wrote. This, she said, has been pivotal in preserving the Orme River’s water quality, while protecting its significant ecosystem. The Stormceptor MAX also offers protection in the face of potential oil spills, which would otherwise be costly and damaging to the local ecosystem and to public health. As a result of the project’s success, “further designs and even another one planned for completion of Phase 3 of this project are in the design stages,” Davidson said.

Other design engineers, municipalities, and government officials are currently looking at the Stormceptor MAX’s many other applications. The system could be used in the rehabilitation of older stormwater ponds, in the construction of new ponds, and even, in lieu of multiple oil and grit separators, among other possibilities.

Davidson said the device’s potential as a “potent stormwater treatment tool for large sites” will be especially evident as municipalities continue to grapple with the effects of climate change. Intense storms will become more frequent, leading to “heavier runoff volumes and sediment loads”—the very scenarios the Stormceptor MAX was designed to address.

– Rachel Phan

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