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.

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.

Port Tampa Bay Secures Second ‘Smart Pond’ To Further Improve Water Quality, Build on Flood & Climate Resiliency

‘Smart Pond’ Revealed During American Association of Port Authority POWERS Conference Focusing on Resiliency & Energy Security

TAMPA, Fla. (January 25, 2023) – With port executives from around the country attending the American Association of Port Authority (AAPA) Port Opportunities with Energy, Resiliency and Sustainability (POWERS) summit at host seaport Port Tampa Bay, National Stormwater Trust, Inc. revealed the recent installation of a second Smart Pond to further strengthen water quality and flood protection near the port and Tampa Bay.

Resilient and sustainable, Smart Ponds allow seaports to protect the environment from untreated stormwater and shield against extreme weather events, while also ensuring that nearly 100 percent of a port’s available land can be dedicated to meeting expansion demands for cargo calling on ports.

“Seaports are the gateway for America’s economy, and resilient, green infrastructure that protects America’s ports is essential,” said Jeff Littlejohn, P.E., Co-Founder of National Stormwater Trust (NST). “Port Tampa Bay is leading by example, and embracing the future of stormwater management with two Smart Ponds that are improving water quality, while also providing flood protection.”

Installed at the beginning of January, the second Smart Pond is located near Port Tampa Bay on State Road 676. It joins Port Tampa Bay’s first Smart Pond, installed near the entrance of Port Tampa Bay on South 22nd Street last June. The first Smart Pond quickly demonstrated its value, successfully capturing more than 175,000 cubic feet of stormwater during Hurricane Ian, reducing flooding in neighborhoods and businesses surrounding Port Tampa Bay and preventing this untreated runoff from flowing into Tampa Bay.

The inaugural Smart Pond at Port Tampa Bay was recently awarded an Environmental Stewardship Award from the Florida Recycling Partnership for its protection of untreated stormwater from flowing into Tampa Bay during Hurricane Ian.

Here’s how NST’s Smart Ponds work: They leverage a real-time weather forecasting and automated control system from OptiRTC to lower water levels before a storm arrives. While the sun is still shining, a Smart Pond can drain itself to increase its flood storage capacity. A Smart Pond is also in constant communication with professional stormwater managers and can even be remotely controlled. These innovations result in dramatic improvements to water quality treatment and flood protection performance.

NST Smart Ponds have been installed at Florida Department of Transportation Ponds as part of a multi-year program to improve stormwater management across Florida. NST has also installed Smart Ponds for the award-winning Babcock Ranch, and are in development at JAXPORT, Port Canaveral and The Villages, among other locations.

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ABOUT NATIONAL STORMWATER TRUST®:

Providing public and private organizations with unparalleled stormwater infrastructure solutions and improving water quality for the communities we serve. Visit us at NationalStormwater.com.

Florida Recycling Partnership Foundation Presents Environmental Stewardship Award to National Stormwater Trust for Its Port Tampa Bay Smart Pond

Smart Stormwater Pond Prevented 175,000+ Cubic Feet of Untreated Stormwater From Flowing Into Tampa Bay During Hurricane Ian

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (November 22, 2022) – 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.

 

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ABOUT NATIONAL STORMWATER TRUST: Providing public and private organizations with unparalleled stormwater infrastructure solutions and improving water quality for the communities we serve. Visit us at www.NationalStormwater.com.

 

State-of-the-Art Smart Stormwater Management Technology Successfully Tested at Babcock Ranch and in the Tampa Bay Region During Hurricane Ian

TALLAHASSEE, Fla (October 19 or 20, 2022) – While much of Florida continues to dig out from the devastation caused by Hurricane Ian, many are looking for ways to improve the resiliency of their communities before the next large storm. One very positive story to emerge in the aftermath of the hurricane is the performance of state-of-the-art smart stormwater management technology provided by National Stormwater Trust, Inc. (NST).

Babcock Ranch, located in hard-hit Charlotte County, and Port Tampa Bay validated their decisions to invest in NST Smart Pond stormwater technology to improve resiliency.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the performance of our six NST Smart Ponds that were in the path of Hurricane Ian. Our primary focus is on improving water quality. But when a storm of that size is headed towards Florida, our objective shifts to protecting our communities and the environment from the flooding impacts of stormwater,” said Jeff Littlejohn, National Stormwater Trust Co-Founder.

THE RESULTS ARE IN:

  • Tampa Bay & Port Tampa Bay Area (State Road 45/1701 Maritime Blvd.): The water level in this Smart Pond was automatically lowered by almost four feet before the first hurricane bands began to impact the region. That extra storage enabled the Smart Pond to capture over 175,000 cubic feet of untreated stormwater, preventing its discharge into the neighboring community and nearby Tampa Bay.
  • Babcock Ranch: NST Smart Ponds in this Southwest Florida residential community located near the Caloosahatchee River used live rainfall forecasts to project the impact of the storm before its arrival. This real-time flood forecasting capability gave the community’s leaders assurance that its large lakes had adequate storage to contain the stormwater and protect the homes, roadways, and schools.

“This confirms for the me the value of smart stormwater technology,” said Syd Kitson, Chairman and CEO, Kitson & Partners. “As our community grows, we look forward to continued collaboration with NST to incorporate their Smart Pond technology.”

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 in Southwest Florida.

Both Babcock Ranch and Port Tampa Bay are making additional investments in Smart Pond technology to provide even greater protections from future storms.

SMART POND TECHNOLOGY IN FLORIDA:

National Stormwater Trust is working with businesses, local governments, and residential communities across Florida to deploy the latest smart stormwater technology from OptiRTC, the leader in forecast-based control of stormwater infrastructure. Additional Smart Ponds are scheduled for installation in the Tampa Bay area and will soon be in communities like the LeeVista Center in Orlando, JAXPORT, Port Canaveral, and Seascape in Florida’s Panhandle, and America’s favorite retirement community – The Villages.

Smart stormwater technology is available for others interested in improving water quality while also providing storm resilient flood protection. This is the future of stormwater management, and it’s right here in Florida.

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