An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

News Releases

News Releases from Region 04

EPA Awards $100,000 to Triangle Environmental Health Initiative in Durham, N.C. to Develop Innovative Technology

Contact Information: 
Dawn Harris-Young (
(404) 562-8421 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main)

DURHAM, N.C. (March 17, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that Triangle Environmental Health Initiative in Durham, N.C. would receive $100,000 to apply their Electrodialytic Nutrient Recovery to selectively remove ammonium and phosphate from wastewater streams to create separate nutrient-free and nutrient-rich streams.

Nationally, $2.3 million in funding is being provided for 23 contracts with small businesses through its Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment. This year’s funded technologies are focused on clean and safe water, air quality monitoring, land revitalization, homeland security, sustainable material management, and safer chemicals.

“EPA’s Small Business funding supports our economy and opens doors to further environmental protection by fostering and encouraging small businesses to bring groundbreaking technologies to market,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With EPA funding, these entrepreneurs will be able to develop their ideas to address priority EPA issues ranging from cleaning up PFAS contamination to reducing food waste.”

“Triangle Environmental Health Initiative is an example of a small business that is working hard to revolutionize the way we protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Small businesses are essential job creators that strengthen the economy while increasing environmental sustainability.”

"Triangle Environmental Health Initiative is a small business that works to advance environmental health by accelerating the design, development, and scaling of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) technologies. We appreciate this opportunity from the EPA as it enables us to continue developing new technologies and get them to those in need. Through this award we are able to hire a new employee and strengthen our local partnerships with research institutions, state agencies, and other small businesses," said Aaron Forbis-Stokes, Ph.D., from Triangle Environmental.

These small businesses are receiving Phase I funding of up to $100,000 from EPA’s SBIR program, which awards contracts annually through a two-phase competition. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for a Phase II award of up to $400,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

SBIR Phase I recipients include:

  • Aerodyne Research, Inc., Billerica, Mass., to develop an ethylene oxide monitor with an ultra-low limit of detection.
  • AirLift Environmental LLC, Lincoln, Neb., to develop a remedial treatment to remove PFAS and associated co-contaminants from soil and groundwater.
  • AquaRealTime, Inc., Boulder, Colo., to use low-cost networked sensors and machine learning for early detection and prediction of harmful algal blooms.
  • Capro-X Inc., Ithaca, N.Y., to develop a fermentation process to upgrade processing waste streams from yogurt production into biochemicals.
  • Catapower, Inc., Marina Del Ray, Calif., to convert vegetable oil waste to valuable commodities such as antimicrobial agents and ingredients for biofuels and personal care products.
  • Creare LLC, Hanover, N.H., to develop a hydrodynamic cavitation technology to destroy PFAS in drinking water.
  • CTI and Associates, Inc., Novi, Mich., to test and evaluate a novel technology for the concentration and destruction of PFAS in landfill leachate.
  • Espira, Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, to create a point-of-use system for drinking water disinfection and bacteria monitoring.
  • Hedin Environmental, Pittsburgh, Pa., to create a treatment process for contaminated waters at coal and metal mines.
  • Instrumental Polymer Technologies, LLC, Westlake Village, Calif., to develop a recyclable polymer concrete using biodegradable materials.
  • Lucendi, Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., to create a cost-effective, portable and automated technology to identify microplastics.
  • Mesa Photonics, LLC, Santa Fe, N.M., to create a compact, fast, sensitive and selective optical sulfur dioxide monitor.
  • NanoAffix Science LLC, Wauwatosa, Pa., to design an affordable handheld tester for real-time, onsite detection of sulfur dioxide in air.
  • Onvector LLC, King of Prussia, Pa., to develop a technology that destroys PFAS in water and wastewater utilizing a plasma arc reactor.
  • Opticslah, LLC, Albuquerque, N.M., to rapidly measure the shape and size of microplastics using a portable sensor; and a second contract to develop continuous sensors for monitoring air in food storage to prevent food waste.
  • Physical Optics Corporation, Torrance, Calif., to create a 3D mapping and visual system to detect radiation contamination for homeland security applications.
  • RemWell, LLC, Potsdam, N.Y., to design a remediation technology using sonolysis for PFAS contaminated groundwater.
  • Scientific Methods, Inc., Granger, Ind., to design an inexpensive field-ready kit for detecting antibiotic-resistant bacteria in wastewater.
  • Skyhaven Systems LLC, Steamboat Springs, Colo., to create a less toxic product that removes paint and coatings using ozonated foam.
  • Syntrotek Corporation, Boulder, Colo., to create low-cost sensors for real-time, on-line and maintenance-free use in water distribution systems.
  • Triangle Environmental Health Initiative, Durham, N.C., to develop a technology to remove and recover nutrients from decentralized wastewater systems.
  • Xergy Inc., Harrington, Del., to design a low-cost system for food preservation.

EPA is one of 11 federal agencies that participate in the SBIR program, enacted in 1982 to strengthen the role of small businesses in federal research and development, create jobs, and promote U.S. technical innovation. To be eligible, a company must be an organized, for-profit U.S. business and have fewer than 500 employees.

For more information on EPA’s SBIR Phase I recipients, visit:

Learn more about EPA’s SBIR program:

Learn more about the Federal SBIR Program: