Rapid Radicals Technology, LLC (Rapid Radicals) is an innovative high-rate wastewater treatment technology originally developed to address combined sewer overflows for municipal sewerage districts. The technology, however, can be applied across a range of applications from municipal (high quality, rapid treatment) to industrial (high strength wastes) to emergency situations (mobile, small footprint).
Why Is It Important To Treat Wastewater Before Releasing It Back To The Great Lakes?
As a Milwaukee-based company on the shores of Lake Michigan, we’re especially tuned in to the billions of gallons of untreated sewage that are discharged into the Great Lakes every year due to combined and sanitary sewer overflows. This is a problem that goes far beyond our own backyard, facing over 850 cities across the United States and thousands more throughout the world. It takes an average of eight hours for a municipal wastewater treatment plant to treat even a fraction of the volume of water that can fall during a large storm event. When that rain hits, we don’t have eight hours for treatment. High capacity storage provides the space to keep the excess flow until it can be pumped and treated after the storm, but it does not provide a dynamic solution to an unpredictable event (flash flood, etc.) without the fear of an overflow or worse, backed up basements.
Our technology moves stormwater and wastewater through the conveyance system and safely back into lakes and rivers without fear of infrastructure failure. This technology has the potential to disrupt previously established standards for wastewater infrastructure design, raising the bar for effluent quality and improving the lives of hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world.
How Far Along Is The Development Of This Wastewater Treatment Technology?
Rapid Radicals is currently piloting the technology in a municipal setting to provide high-rate treatment during storm events. This is the fourth scale of piloting, at a fourth order of magnitude, ultimately validating the kinetic factors for full-scale development and demonstrating commercially viable levels of treatment. The technology, however, is capable of performing in applications ranging from normal municipal operations, industrial settings, and in disaster relief scenarios. Rapid Radicals realizes the detrimental impact untreated discharges can have on water infrastructure throughout the world and works to customize solutions that address such universal problems.
What Was The Inspiration Behind Rapid Radicals Technology?
In July 2010, 500-year storms hit Milwaukee, Wisconsin hard and had a detrimental impact on many community member throughout the region including the Marquette University Water Quality Center’s Director, Dr. Daniel Zitomer. After experiencing a basement backup firsthand, he decided to take action towards the prevention of high-level wastewater infrastructure failure during large storm events. With nearly 25 years of consulting and research experience in wastewater treatment, Dr. Zitomer was confident he had the experience and resources available to tackle this problem faced by communities in over 700 cities around the United States.
How Did Rapid Radicals Technology Begin?
The project began as an accepted proposal with the National Science Foundation Water and Equipment Policy Industry-University Cooperative Research Center (NSF WEP IUCRC) in October 2014. Funding was renewed for a second year in 2016 given the success of the research. Through this organization, Rapid Radicals Founder and CTO, Paige Peters, had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous industry partners such as the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, City of Fond du Lac Wastewater Utility, and NEWwater Green Bay. These industry partners continue their support of the project to offer valuable input during pilot-scale development.
Check out our Imagine H2O Startup Spotlight video for an overview of the technology and a quick tour of our pilot site at Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s South Shore Water Reclamation Facility in Oak Creek, WI.
To learn more about Rapid Radicals and our team, watch our pitch on the UW-Milwaukee Lubar Entrepreneurship Center’s Project Pitch It season six premiere! Project Pitch It provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their innovative ideas to a panel of leading business moguls who question, advise, and present weekly awards.
Rapid Radicals Technology officially began in June 2016. However, the development of our high-rate wastewater treatment technology began 18 months before we opened our doors and the conceptualization had been in the works for years.