All About AquaBlok

Corporate History

AquaBlok, Ltd. was founded in Toledo, Ohio in the late-1990s to address technical challenges associated with aqueous “capping,” or the physical isolation of contaminated sediment from relatively “clean” water in aquatic environments. Our team consists of engineers and scientists who derive satisfaction from helping address recurring and often complex civil engineering and remedial challenges to save time, money, and resources – ultimately to improve the quality of life.

AquaBlok continues to be an independent private company. While we maintain close relationships with a wide range of technology vendors and consultants, AquaBlok is not owned or controlled by any outside entity.

While the uses of the foundational technology and its “composite particle” design can be highly technical, the basic concept is elegantly simple: AquaBlok delivers fine-grained powders (typically clays, modified minerals, and engineered active amendments) into or around water by wrapping these traditionally hard-to-handle materials around a stone aggregate core. This process results in a finished “composite particle” ideal to perform advantageous geotechnical functions – while also providing the ability to uniformly deliver value-added amendments at a wide range of concentrations.

Collaborators: AquaBlok has a long history of working with academics, government researchers, and other commercial enterprises to help identify new ways to adapt our basic technology to help address delivery, application, and/or construction-related challenges by marrying AquaBlok with the proprietary geotechnical or remedial solutions developed by others. If you see a complementary or synergistic opportunity based on the work that you do, please contact us.


The Composite Particle System

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AquaBlok and its broader family of products allow fine-grained (i.e. powdered) materials
of high value to be applied uniformly and efficiently in and around both
freshwater and saltwater environments.

Key Advantages:

  • Efficient delivery of high value materials at low concentrations
  • No field mixing or blending
  • Low cost handling & installation
  • Unique geotechnical attributes: self-compacting; high shear strength
  • Highly versatile: custom-formulate for project-specific need

Standard Material Specs:

Environmental Remediation Products -- 

Trade Names: AquaBlok®, AquaGate®+, HoleBlok™
Particle Size: 1/4 - 3/4"
Coating Material: Various (bentonite, attapulgite, organoclays, activated carbon, etc.)
Core Material: Limestone or other chemically/physically stable earthen aggregate
Coating to Core Ratio: Various (5% coating, 95% core, by weight to 50% coating, 50% core)
Dry Bulk Density: 83 – 85 lbs/CF, unconsolidated; 85 – 90 lbs/CF, consolidated
Hydraulic Conductivity: 1 x 10-2 to 5 x 10-9 cm/s depending on formulation/composition

Sealing & Geotechnical Products --

Trade Names: AquaBlok® 2080FW (or PONDSEAL™)
Particle Size: 1/4 - 3/8"
Coating Material: Wyoming-derived sodium bentonite (chemically unaltered)
Core Material: Limestone or other chemically/physically stable earthen aggregate
Coating to Core Ratio*: 20% bentonite, 80% aggregate core, by weight 
Dry Bulk Density: 80 – 90 lbs/CF depending on formulation/compostion
Hydraulic Conductivity: 1 x 10-7 to 1 x 10-9 cm/sec (depending on product thickness & consolidation)

* AquaBlok 2080FW is the workhorse material of the geotechnical sealant line. However, custom formulations with higher (or lower) clay content or larger or smaller core aggregate can be made available to satisfy project-specific demands (e.g. HoleBlok™ is a premium product that is 40% bentonite, 60% aggregate by weight that is graded for size-specific requirements associated with down-well/drilling applications).

Download PDF AquaBlok® 2080FW/PONDSEAL™ Material Spec Sheet


Focus Areas

The AquaBlok process is patented, the goals vary with each installation, and the finished products are highly unique in every market served. The title tabs on the Environmental Remediation portion of the website delineate primary areas of focus.

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https://asoft7137.accrisoft.com/aquablok/clientuploads/about_us/lister_thumbs/sediment_remediation.JPGSediment Remediation remains foundational for the company. Products range from the original AquaBlok sealant materials (for isolation capping) to a broad range of treatment-oriented formulations – which are sold under the trade name AquaGate+. AquaBlok, Ltd. works closely with engineers, designers, contractors, government and academic researchers, and other stakeholders on a project-specific basis to ensure that materials are custom-formulated to meet unique site-specific demands. A primary goal of the AquaBlok technology in these environmental applications is to reduce the risk-of-remedy often presented by conventional sediment dredging approaches and to promote more viable and sustainable approaches that include in-situ reduction of toxicity.

 

https://asoft7137.accrisoft.com/aquablok/clientuploads/about_us/lister_thumbs/nutrient_management.jpgNutrient Management has become a priority for those protecting the balanced natural processes of surface water around the country and around the planet. Excess soluble phosphorus, a byproduct of everything from lawn fertilizer to wastewater treatment to row crop and livestock agriculture (and the inherent connection these processes have with our rivers, wetlands, lakes, and ultimately our oceans), upsets this balance. AquaGate+Alum utilizes an aluminum sulfate coating and AquaBlok’s characteristic limestone (calcium carbonate) core to bind or inactivate phosphorus. By binding soluble derivatives of phosphorus along with other organic and inorganic particulates, this material also serves to clarifier. And unlike traditional alum – added as a liquid slurry – the “pebble-like” density of AquaGate+Alum allows the material to sink to the bottom of the water column, where phosphorus loading (recycling) is most prevalent.

 

https://asoft7137.accrisoft.com/aquablok/clientuploads/about_us/lister_thumbs/drilling_applications.JPGISCO/R Sealing solutions are made possible through HoleBlok™ and HoleBlok+™. These products represent improved annular sealant materials that provide pollution prevention together with a range of other benefits over conventional coated bentonite pellets or chips. HoleBlok+ annular sealants combines two well-established and proven active ingredients – zero-valent iron (ZVI) and bentonite. The unique combination helps minimize the potential for cross-contamination of surficial ground water zones along annular spaces in environmental monitoring wells and also minimizes the potential for “rebound” - the post-absorption release of contaminants trapped by the bentonite seal. HoleBlok+™ is easy to handle/apply and is packaged in either 50-lb. plastic pails or paper bags.

 

https://asoft7137.accrisoft.com/aquablok/clientuploads/about_us/lister_thumbs/submerseed_application.JPGRestoration Seeding represents another niche in AquaBlok’s broader product offering. By incorporating very small quantities of viable plant seed into the coating layer of the “composite particle,” the resulting particle can serve as a vector to reliably deliver and anchor the fragile propagules into what is often an inhospitable environment. SubmerSeed® can be broadcast into shallow wetland or shoreline habitats to evenly disperse and hold the valuable seeds in place until conditions are ripe for germination and growth. SeedSet™ (the upland counterpart) serves the same purpose in terrestrial environments. In either case, the goals are very similar – namely, to increase the probability of successful germination when wind, water, and other changing environmental stressors undermine traditional seeding methods or when plug planting is not technically or economically feasible.

 

https://asoft7137.accrisoft.com/aquablok/clientuploads/about_us/lister_thumbs/geotech_applications.jpgSealing and Geotechnical Applications represent a rapidly expanding segment for the company. What began largely as opportunistic usage peripherally related to larger environmental applications has grown into national outreach through a consistently growing distribution network. With familiar base ingredients (sodium bentonite and crushed limestone), engineers and designers as well as contractors in the field have a tendency to quickly “connect the dots” and see the broad spectrum of settings and circumstances where AquaBlok’s base formulation can add real, tangible value. Reduced labor and cost savings coupled with consistent and reliable performance have helped AquaBlok earn a place in the proverbial toolbox as Nature’s Duct Tape™.


Stakeholders

For Environmental Remediation applications, the AquaBlok technology platform should be of interest to:

  • Geotechnical, civil, and hydraulic engineers (including the Army Corps of Engineers);
  • Earthwork, flood control, drainage, utility, drilling, dredging, and remediation contractors; as well as,
  • Chemical engineers, scientists, environmental regulators (e.g. EPA), and non-profit organizations concerned with the in-situ reduction of the toxicity and mobility of contaminated sediment and groundwater and the restoration of ecosystems that have experienced natural resources damages.
Most of these same stakeholder groups can benefit from AquaBlok in the Sealing & Geotechnical arena in that its simple design and implementation can provide waterproofing and containment solutions both for chronic vulnerabilities (e.g. leaking ponds, aging infrastructure, preferential pathways) as well as for unique, often complex water management challenges. Interested parties range from private pond owners, farmers, ranchers, and wildlife managers to a broad swath of engineers, designers, and contractors in the field. User groups tend to commingle in a variety of related circles, with interests in: construction materials, erosion control, utility contracting and maintenance, stormwater management, and natural resource management.

The Bottom Line

Just as with our products and our projects, our customers are diverse – so whether you are the owner of a leaking farm pond or among those responsible for the outcome of a multi-faceted environmental clean-up, please do explore further to see how AquaBlok might help “deliver to your bottom line.”
Download Literature on AquaBlok