Uponor Supports Upstream Technologies in Its Launch of the MPD Infiltrometer

The SAFL Baffle, developed out of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), keeps sediment pollution out of lakes, rivers and oceans.

The SAFL Baffle, developed out of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), keeps sediment pollution out of lakes, rivers and oceans.

Uponor Inc. (Uponor) completed a second-round investment in Upstream Technologies, a New Brighton, Minn.-based company, to support the launch of the company’s Modified Philip Dunne (MPD) Infiltrometer, which provides an innovative solution for quickly and efficiently measuring the rate of water infiltration into soil.

The opportunity came to Uponor through its subsidiary Uponor Innovations LLC. In August 2014, Uponor purchased a minority position in Upstream Technologies to support the SAFL Baffle, a storm water management product that keeps sediment pollution out of lakes, rivers and oceans. The product, developed by the University of Minnesota at the St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), is proven to capture and retain twice the amount of sediment within existing sump structures.

“We are pleased to see the progress being made in terms of market acceptance of the SAFL Baffle in storm water sediment removal applications,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “We anticipate the launch of the new MPD Infiltrometer will be just as successful, and we are excited to support another innovation that benefits the environment and promotes water conservation.

The MPD Infiltrometer replaces the double-ring infiltrometer test for saturated hydraulic conductivity (Ksat) and decreases site testing times for measuring soil absorption rates from days to mere minutes—ensuring water quickly returns back into the ground as opposed to being wasted down storm drains. The technology also produces immediate online reports for engineers, regulators and public works professionals that help make site investigations a greater success.

“Over the past few years, our company has seen impressive growth—approaching 1,000 SAFL Baffles in North America,” says A.J. Schwidder, P.E., CEO and founder of Upstream Technologies. “We anticipate the new MPD Infiltrometer will continue this momentum. In fact, we already have orders in the pipeline and are optimistic about the need for this product.”

According to Schwidder, the city of Woodbury has 70 infiltration ponds they wish to test this summer and have already placed an order for one device with a potential for three more. Additionally, the city of Minneapolis is planning to perform 100 infiltration tests per month, further adding to the need for this valuable innovation.

And the beneficial partnerships between the two companies are continuing to expand. As a result of Uponor North America’s success with Upstream Technologies, Uponor Infra, based in Sweden, now has entered into a technology agreement with the company to design and manufacture customized SAFL Baffles for the European and Nordic markets. The new plastic technology for the European and Nordic markets would allow for pre-fabrication efficiencies that will reduce costs and improve resources.

“We see a viable market opportunity for smaller- and larger-sized SAFL Baffles manufactured using plastic technologies delivering the same sediment-removal efficiencies seen with the stainless-steel products,” says Magnus Lundin, vice president, Offering & Development, Uponor Infra Nordic. “We are enthusiastic about the opportunity to partner with a company that makes it convenient, affordable and effective to do the right things for the environment.”

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