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News Releases from Region 03

EPA Awards $2.3 Million in Funding for 21 Small Businesses to Develop Innovative Environmental Technologies

Philadelphia-based Firm to Test Waste Water Treatment Technology

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US EPA Region 3 (

PHILADELPHIA, July 19, 2019 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced $2.3 million in funding for 21 small businesses to develop technologies that will help protect human health and the environment by monitoring air quality, treating drinking water, cleaning up contaminated sites, and creating greener, less toxic materials.

“These funds support small businesses that have developed new technologies to monitor air quality, test for PFAS, and address other pressing environmental challenges,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Through EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, we provide important assistance to entrepreneurs as they develop innovative solutions that will strengthen both environmental protections and economic growth.” 

These 21 small businesses are receiving Phase I contracts from EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which awards contracts annually through a two-phase competition. Companies compete for a Phase I award of up to $100,000 by submitting research that addresses key environmental issues. After receiving a Phase I award, companies are eligible to compete for a Phase II award of up to $300,000 to further develop and commercialize the technology.

AAPlasma, LLC, located at the Pennovation Center in Philadelphia, is one of the 21 recipients of EPA’s research funding.  AAPlasma, with the support of Drexel University’s Nyheim Plasma Institute (NPI), will use the EPA’s SBIR funding opportunity to further develop a waste water treatment technology that offers better public health protection from major factors that lead to antimicrobial risks. 

According to the World Health Organization, antimicrobial resistance is one of the greatest threats to global health.  Antimicrobial resistance refers to the natural ability of bacteria and other microbes to develop resistance to the medicines we use to treat them, and the process is accelerated by inappropriate or excessive use of pharmaceutical products designed to kill unwanted pathogens in humans, animals and crops. In particular, the overuse and misuse of antibiotics in human and animal health is fueling resistance.  

“The EPA SBIR program allows small businesses, like AAPlasma LLC, to put out-of-the-box ideas to the test that could potentially revolutionize the way we approach some of the greatest environmental challenges we face today,” said Charles Bailey, Chief Operations Officer for AAPlasma.  “We at AAPlasma believe our technology can soon be used to affordably and effectively treat wastewater from various sources that are prone to containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and rendering it completely safe for reuse. We have the SBIR program to thank for kicking off this possibility."

EPA’s SBIR funding supports both the economy and the environment by creating jobs and promoting small businesses to bring environmental technologies to market. For instance, one EPA SBIR small business, GreenTechnologies, LLC, is commercializing a sustainable and innovative treatment and nutrient recovery process for wastewater. Their processes recover nutrients such as phosphorus, carbon and nitrogen in wastewater and convert the excess nutrients into sustainable slow-release fertilizers, branded under the name GreenEdge®, which are being sold commercially throughout the country and internationally.

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 at

Learn more about the federal SBIR program at