Case Study: SR-676 Hillsborough County

Real-time water level and rain sensor data enable NST engineers to monitor a Smart Pond’s actual performance compared to predicted performance. This analysis is performed and submitted in an annual report to the Water Management District each year to confirm that each operational Smart Pond achieves the permit-required performance.  

NST retrofitted an FDOT pond on SR 676 in Hillsborough County with Continuous Monitoring and Adaptively Controlled (CMAC) equipment in December 2022. The pond was originally permitted and constructed as a wet detention facility as part of FDOT’s 2010 SR 676 road widening project. The facility receives runoff from an 11.57-acre drainage basin consisting mostly of roadway and commercial land uses.   

After the first full year of operation as a Smart Pond, the annual monitoring data demonstrated more than double the treatment efficiency prior to its upgrade. 

As initially designed and constructed, the stormwater facility provided the required 0.55 inches of wet detention treatment for the road project’s added impervious area. The permitted CMAC modification increased the efficiency of the treatment facility to a predicted treatment efficiency of 67.2% for Total Nitrogen removal, resulting in 2.02 acre-feet of additional equivalent treatment volume. 

The CMAC monitoring system tracks and records rainfall, pond elevation, pond volume, and valve opening data in real time. The initial 12 months of operational data ending in December 2023 demonstrates the pond site received a total of 38.07 inches of rain and fully captured (retained without discharge) 87.5% of the annual rainfall volume. While the total rainfall was less than predicted, the pond still significantly outperformed its modeled and permitted TN removal efficiency as shown in the following summary table:  

37th Annual Environmental Permitting Summer School Recap

This year’s event in Marco Island was a resounding success, with participants gaining valuable insights into cutting-edge environmental solutions. 

In particular, we’d like to highlight the remarkable presentations by Mark Thomasson and Jack Fiveash, which delved into the fascinating realms of “Stormwater Nutrient Credit Trading, Smart Ponds and Resilience in Florida.”

 

 

 

Mark Thomasson, P.E.,

Executive Vice President, Director of Engineering and Science – Chief Stormwater Engineer

 

Water Quality Credit Trading

Mark Thomasson served on a panel of experts that examined some recent examples of innovative nutrient trading, evaluated the legislation filed in 2022, and discussed some new approaches to managing nutrients in impaired watersheds. 

Mark took attendees on a journey into the world of “Smart Ponds” and how they are revolutionizing water quality management with the stormwater nutrient credit market in Florida.

He shed light on how the integration of sensors, data analytics, and real-time monitoring can transform these ponds into intelligent systems. These “Smart Ponds” can autonomously adjust water levels, optimize treatment capacity, and their operation to achieve maximum effectiveness.

Mark Thomasson, P.E.

Webinar: A Year in the Life of a Smart Pond

For the first time, the National Stormwater Trust, Inc. live-streamed a webinar directly from Marco Island. A total of 71 attendees joined the presentation led by Mark to gain case study insights from a look back at the first year of a smart stormwater pond.

John “Jack” Fiveash 

CEO and Co-Founder of NST

Does Florida Need a New Resilient Approach to Development?

Jack Fiveash was on a panel that delved into the critical topic of resilience in Florida’s complex environmental landscape. His presentation was focused on “Water Quality and Flood Resiliency: Becoming Fixers.”

Jack discussed the National Stormwater Trust’s work for Babcock Ranch and the Florida Department of Transportation, initiatives aimed at managing and mitigating the impacts of stormwater runoff by investing in ‘Smart Pond’ infrastructure. 

Jack Fiveash

 

Lessons Learned…

The audience came prepared with ideas and ready to participate in what was a lively and thought-provoking discussion! 

As we move forward, we’re excited to see how these concepts will shape the future of stormwater management and sustainable development not only in Florida but across the globe.

Whether in-person or on the live-stream, presentations left attendees inspired by the prospects of merging stormwater technology for a more sustainable future.

Stay tuned for more updates, and thank you for being part of our engaged community!

Resiliency Grants Available Now!

The Resilient Florida Program is a State grant program available to government entities to address impacts of flood and sea level rise. The National Stormwater Trust, Inc. is partnering with local governments to pursue grant funding for several stormwater improvements. For more information, please Click Here to See Florida Resilient Grants Website.

For assistance qualifying your project or meeting grant deadlines, please contact Erin Klores at eklores@nationalstormwater.com

ENGINEERING TIP: Follow the New Rule!

Get ready, there’s a new rule coming!

 

In 2020, the Florida Legislature passed Senate Bill 712, also known as the Clean Waterways Act, that included a wide range of water-quality protection provisions aimed at minimizing the impact of known sources of nutrient pollution and strengthening regulatory requirements. As directed by section 5 of the Act, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and water management districts (WMDs) initiated rulemaking to update the stormwater design and operation regulations for environmental resource permitting.

 

FDEP and the WMDs formed a Technical Advisory Committee that met 13 times from December 2020 to November 2021, resulting in a Recommendations Report that was released in March 2022.  FDEP and the WMDs held a series of rule workshops from May 2022 to March 2023 to present and discuss proposed rule language. The rule was adopted April 14, 2023 but, due to the cost of implementation, requires ratification by the Florida Legislature. It is anticipated the rule will be ratified during the 2024 legislative session and will be effective no later than July 1, 2024.

 

The rule is long and complex, including Chapter 62-330, Florida Administrative Code, and the incorporated Applicants Handbook I, effective statewide, and the respective Applicant’s Handbook II for each WMD. Most of the rule remains unchanged; however, significant change is proposed that will affect the design, construction, and operation of stormwater treatment facilities, making most facilities larger and more complex to operate and maintain.

 

A very brief overview of the most notable proposed changes is presented below.

1.  Increase treatment requirements across the board:  

a) BMP presumptive treatment will be discontinued.

b) All new development must meet the maximum of:

i) Post nutrient discharge less than pre nutrient discharge

ii) 55%/80% reduction of post development TN/TP load

iii) Greater reductions for discharges to OFWs or impaired waters

c) Redevelopment

i) 45%/80% reduction of TN/TP for all sites

ii) 60%/90% reduction of TN/TP in OFW watersheds

2.  Expand criteria for compensatory and off-site treatment removing the “last resort” and “less than 10%” criteria, enabling the new treatment requirements to be achieved in any combination of on-site and off-site treatment.

3.  Increase monitoring, inspection, and reporting requirements for all facilities.

4.  Provide for inspector training and certification along with an inspection checklist.

5.  Require as-builts, an O&M plan, cost estimate, and more documentation of financial capability to transfer to O&M phase.

 

The implications to development are significant. Utilizing conventional stormwater BMPs, it is estimated that stormwater facilities could increase in size 2-3 times. This may not work in many locations, requiring the consideration of off-site treatment, more advanced treatment technologies, or a combination of these.

For current projects that already require some enhanced treatment, such as those discharging to impaired water bodies, or future projects under the proposed rule, we recommend increasing the efficiency of standard wet detention and retention BMPs with Smart Pond Technology provided by NST. Ponds equipped with that technology can meet requirements under the new rule for all new development.

Mark Thomasson, P.E.

Stormwater Nutrient Credit Program Offers Flexibility

You’ve decided that stormwater credits will benefit your project. Now what?

To maximize design flexibility for its partners, National Stormwater Trust has created the Stormwater Nutrient Credit market, enabling public and private developers to meet a portion of their stormwater treatment requirements by purchasing credits generated off-site. 

This is also known as compensatory treatment. Similar to mitigation, this allows one location to be undertreated, while overtreating nearby in a way that doesn’t contribute to a water quality violation in the receiving water or watershed. If this sounds similar to wetland mitigation, the concept is similar.

Mark Thomasson, P.E. Executive Vice President at National Stormwater Trust, recently shared during a statewide webinar, that the process for receiving stormwater credits is as simple as:

• Determining if credits are available in your basin,
• Determining how many credits are needed,
• Verifying availability, and
• Purchasing credits.

NST is providing two exclusive opportunities for developers to gain more insight into the Stormwater Nutrient Credit program:

  1. Book an appointment for a one-on-one conversation to ask questions specific to your project, and
  2. Schedule a “Lunch and Learn” to help you and your leadership team better understand the stormwater nutrient credit process.

Over the coming months, NST will also provide additional webinar opportunities to dive deeper into the benefits of off-site stormwater treatment and Regional Stormwater Management Systems.

Hurricane Resilient Babcock Ranch Doubles Down on Smart Stormwater Ponds

With the start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season on the minds of many Floridians, southwest Florida community Babcock Ranch recently highlighted its “Resilient by Design” approach to continued community development.  Babcock Ranch founder Syd Kitson delivered comments on his strategic vision while National Stormwater Trust was there to highlight our continued efforts to deliver Smart Pond technology to this visionary resilient community.

One community in Charlotte County, Babcock Ranch, was mostly unharmed by the flooding, protected in part by smart stormwater management technology that has changed the way stormwater is managed. Thanks to real-time flood forecasting capability of existing NST Smart Ponds, Babcock Ranch water managers and leaders had assurance that its large lakes had adequate storage to contain Hurricane Ian’s stormwater and protect the community’s homes, roadways and school.

Building on the resiliency success of Smart Pond technology at Babcock Ranch, the community is now doubling down on its smart stormwater management by installing additional Smart Ponds, and incorporating the technological functionality allowing water managers, in coordination with the water management district, to proactively lower lake water levels in advance of a large storm. These remotely-operable stations will benefit both Babcock Ranch and neighboring communities by expanding flood water storage capacity to capture even more runoff from larger storms.

“Until last September, we were known as America’s first solar-powered town. But then came Hurricane Ian, and our focus shifted from renewable energy and sustainability to resiliency,” said Kitson. “Ian put all that preparation, all that hard work and planning, everything, to the ultimate test. Our latest efforts to further fortify the community are a testament to our incredible team of partners that has factored storm safety into every element of the community to ensure our residents’ safety.”

While the primary focus for National Stormwater Trust is on improving water quality, when a storm the size of Hurricane Ian threatens Florida, their objective shifts to protecting communities and the environment from the flooding impacts of stormwater.

National Stormwater Trust is proud to be a partner with Babcock Ranch.

NST TEAM SPOTLIGHT: Meet Capt. John Ferguson, USN-Ret., President & COO

We are very proud of the rich backgrounds and experience brought to the smart stormwater industry by our team at NST.  One team member in particular, NST President and COO Capt. John Ferguson (USN-Retired), was recently appointed to represent the Muscogee Creek Nation at the ship construction steel-cutting ceremony for the future USNS Muscogee Creek Nation at Bollinger Mississippi Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss.

The vessel is the 10th Navajo-class Towing, Salvage and Rescue Ship (T-ATS) and the fifth T-ATS vessel being constructed by Bollinger since acquiring the program in April 2021.  The Navajo-class provides oceangoing tug, salvage, and rescue capabilities to support fleet operations and are tasked with coming to the aid of stricken vessels. Their general mission capabilities include combat salvage, lifting, towing, retraction of grounded vessels, off-ship firefighting, and manned diving operations.

Named for the Muscogee Creek Nation, the ship honors the self-governed Native American tribe located in Okmulgee, Okla.

WEBINAR: New Stormwater Rule Provisions for Offsite/Compensatory Treatment

Jeff Littlejohn, Florida water expert and former Deputy Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, will lead a webinar focused on how new stormwater rule provisions for offsite/compensatory treatment may impact you and projects you are involved in. Whether you are in engineering, development, public works, transportation, or water resources, these webinars will have something for you.

NST Announces New Webinar Series

The Florida stormwater industry is headed in a new direction, supporting needed benefits to water quality and flood resiliency, and fueled by innovations in technology and regulations. The professional staff at National Stormwater Trust will host a series of webinars over the coming months to discuss these important issues. Whether you are in engineering, development, public works, transportation, or water resources, these webinars will have something for you.

Future Webinars Will Focus On:

  • Permitting CMAC/Smart Pond Best Management Practices using the Alternative Design Provisions of the Applicant’s Handbook
  • Planning and permitting development using Stormwater Nutrient Credits

Be on the lookout for those forthcoming webinar dates.

ENGINEERING TIP OF THE MONTH: Incorporating Stormwater Nutrient Credits into Site Development Design

By: Mark Thomasson, P.E., Chief Stormwater Engineer

We’re often asked about how to maximize design flexibility using Stormwater Nutrient Credits (SNCs) to meet system requirements for stormwater management facilities that control both water quantity and water quality.

We recognize that land and opportunity costs constitute a majority of losses in stormwater management, and that’s why more and more civil engineers are turning to off-site stormwater treatment alternatives to optimize their designs.

To maximize design flexibility for its customers, National Stormwater Trust (NST) created the SNC market to enable public and private developers to meet a portion of their stormwater treatment requirements by purchasing credits generated in an off-site Regional Stormwater Management Systems (RSMS).

In a typical 10-acre commercial development in Orange County, the gross land cost is about $7.5 million. The cost of a conventional wet pond is about $0.5 million, including construction and the present value of 30 years of maintenance costs. The opportunity cost of the 1.2 acres occupied by the wet pond is about $0.9 million. (NOTE: The average cost of commercial real estate in Orange County is about $750,000 per acre.)

How can SNCs be applied to this scenario to benefit the development? In this example, the required water quality treatment is 0.83 ac-ft for 1” of treatment over the 10-acre site. This quantity of treatment (0.83 ac-ft or the equivalent treatment converted into pounds or kilograms of nitrogen per year) can be provided in a permitted RSMS in the same watershed. The purchase and transfer of SNCs from a regional facility to the development can result in significant cost savings to the development, while providing an equivalent amount of water quality treatment in a regional facility that is professionally maintained. In this example, the cost of the SNC would be about $625,000, and the savings to the developer would be about $800,000 (eliminating direct costs and lost land value).

Here’s how the permitting works: To use an SNC, you must secure a reservation in a permitted regional facility with available credits and provide evidence of the availability of the credit to your permit reviewer. The more convenient way to do that is to request a Credit Reservation Letter from NST. In that letter, NST will outline the quantity reserved (in acre-feet or pounds/year), and the permitted facility where the SNC is being generated. This documentation provides reasonable assurance to your permit reviewer and simplifies your permit process. Simply put, the Reservation Letter replaces the on-site water quality treatment in your permit.

Prior to the start of construction, NST will transfer the SNC to your permit through a letter modification to its regional facility. Evidence of that permitted transfer will be provided to complete the purchase.

If this sounds similar to using a wetland mitigation credit in lieu of permittee-responsible mitigation, that’s because this program is designed to work the same way. It’s a one-time purchase, and the stormwater treatment requirement is transferred from your development to an NST-operated regional treatment facility.

NST will proactively manage the collection, storage, and discharge of stormwater in its facilities. NST-managed stormwater facilities use Continuously Monitored and Adaptive Control (CMAC) technology to improve treatment performance and reduce flooding by controlling water levels and increasing the storage capacity of the facilities by drawing down water levels prior to forecasted rainfall. NST’s Smart Ponds are about 50 percent more effective in treating stormwater than conventional facilities and enable verification of water treatment performance in real time.

NST Has Access to 2,600+ FDOT Stormwater Ponds

Through an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation, NST converts conventional FDOT stormwater ponds into regional Smart Ponds that generate Florida government-approved SNCs.

NST offers its SNC customers the one-stop convenience of long-term stormwater compliance and the knowledge that NST is providing state-of-the-art stormwater technology and scientific and financial resources to provide green infrastructure solutions to Florida.

We Have Stormwater Nutrient Credits Available

Does your community or project need a stormwater pond? To maximize design flexibility for its partners, National Stormwater Trust has created the Stormwater Nutrient Credit (SNC) market, a first-of-its-kind trading program that allows public and private developers to meet a portion of their stormwater treatment requirements by purchasing credits generated off-site.

DYK: Stormwater Nutrient Credits Can Help Your Development and the Environment

National Stormwater Trust (NST) proactively manages the collection, storage, and discharge of stormwater utilizing real-time data in a wireless, automated operating system. Also called “Smart Ponds,” NST-managed stormwater facilities utilize Continuously Monitored and Adaptive Control (CMAC) technology to improve treatment performance and reduce flooding by controlling water levels and increasing the storage capacity of the facilities by drawing down water levels prior to forecasted rainfall.  CMAC-equipped stormwater facilities are about 50 percent more effective in treating stormwater than conventional facilities and enable verification of water treatment performance in real time.

Through an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), NST converts conventional FDOT stormwater ponds into regional Smart Ponds that generate Florida government-approved Stormwater Nutrient Credits (SNCs). NST offers the one-stop convenience of long-term stormwater compliance for developers seeking to purchase SNCs, and the knowledge that NST is providing the latest state-of-the-art stormwater technology and scientific and financial resources to provide green infrastructure solutions to Florida.

Purchasing SNCs is almost always more cost effective than 100 percent onsite stormwater compliance for construction projects, and can reduce the space required for stormwater management onsite. The additional space can be used for other purposes.

National Stormwater Trust has a limited amount of Stormwater Nutrient Credits available immediately in the Tampa Bay Watershed and has access to thousands of additional FDOT stormwater ponds across Florida to generate credits and meet your smart stormwater management needs. Bring the future of stormwater management to your project with regional Smart Ponds that improve water quality and flood protection resiliency in Florida communities.

For more information about National Stormwater Trust, to purchase Stormwater Nutrient Credits, or to talk to us about building a credit-generating project on your property, please contact: Jeff Littlejohn at jml@nationalstormwater.com