State-of-the art ‘Smart Pond’ stormwater technology installed earlier this year adjacent to Port Tampa Bay was recently honored with the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation for safely capturing and preventing over 175,000 cubic feet of untreated stormwater from flowing into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Ian.

Award recipient National Stormwater Trust, Inc. (NST) primarily focuses its Smart Ponds on improving water quality. But when a storm the size of Hurricane Ian turns towards Florida, NST’s objectives shift to protecting communities and the environment from the flooding impacts of stormwater.

Prior to Hurricane Ian making landfall, the Tampa Bay area Smart Pond (State Road 45/1701 Maritime Blvd.) was lowered by almost four feet to provide extra storage capacity. This allowed for the capture of over 175,000 cubic feet of untreated stormwater, preventing it from flooding homes and businesses in the area and from flowing into Tampa Bay.

“This technology is creating a better net gain for the environment, with more nitrogen treatment, and is increasing the amount of usable space for Port Tampa Bay,” Port Tampa Bay Environmental Director Christopher Cooley said about NST Smart Ponds. “Port Tampa Bay is a leading supporter of this environmentally-friendly innovation.”

HOW SMART PONDS WORK:

Most Floridians are familiar with a traditional stormwater pond. They are all around us in residential communities, commercial and business districts, airports, seaports and similar developments. Traditional ponds hold rain and stormwater runoff. However, in large storms, these ponds often overflow and flood the surrounding area with untreated stormwater.

The latest innovation in stormwater management is to connect a pond to live weather forecast data and use that information to project water levels and, if necessary, automatically lower its water level before a storm arrives. While the sun is still shining, an NST Smart Pond can actively drain itself to increase its flood storage capacity while in constant communication with professional stormwater managers who can oversee its performance and even remotely control the pond. These are exactly the steps that National Stormwater Trust engineers took in advance of Hurricane Ian’s landfall.

FLORIDA RECYCLING AWARD DETAILS: 

“Improving stormwater quality is our primary goal, but during tropical events, it becomes a life and safety imperative to capture dangerous runoff so that it doesn’t harm Floridians, communities and our natural resources,” said Jeff Littlejohn, National Stormwater Trust Co-Founder. “We’re honored to receive the Environmental Stewardship Award, and look forward to helping more communities connect to this cutting-edge technology.”

The Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation annually recognizes companies, organizations and government entities that have made a significant impact in recycling, as well as water reuse, energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental stewardship. The award was presented during a ceremony at the Florida Capitol on November 18.