by Bernard Devlin
Last month, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) and the Anacostia Watershed Restoration Partnership were recognized by the Chesapeake Stormwater Network for their Anacostia River Watershed Smart Integrated Stormwater Management Project. The project took third place in the BUBBA contest, which recognizes stormwater projects or practices that achieve substantial water quality improvements in challenging urban environments.
BUBBA awards—short for Best Urban Best Management Practice in the Bay Award—recognizes eight categories in total. COG’s project was included in the Best BMP Retrofit category. This category recognizes projects that “improve the runoff reduction and pollutant removal capability of existing stormwater BMPs constructed in the last five years.” COG partnered with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), Maryland Department of Natural Resources, and OptiRTC, a technology company that delivers solutions to challenging stormwater in urban environments.
The project combines forecasted precipitation data and real time site conditions with cellular communication, connected continuous monitoring devices, the cloud, and the internet to predict the amount of rain that will enter the watershed, and prepare the BMP to receive the predicted water. Using this information, water levels in an existing wet pond at University Boulevard in the Anacostia River Watershed were autonomously controlled to meet management objectives such as increasing retention time and decreasing wet-weather discharge. This project has provided the County and its partners with access to real-time data and insight into how their facilities function, optimizing the facilities for multiple environmental objectives and empowering stakeholders with the ability to adapt over time as regulations, land-use, and climate changes.
As part of the Partnership’s Anacostia River Watershed Smart Integrated Stormwater Management project, similar automated decision-based technological retrofits for dry pond and bio-retention systems are being evaluated by the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County for performance.
Morelli, Donna “Parking lot project catches the eye as well as stormwater.” Chesapeake Bay Journal April 2017: Page 5-6. Print.
2017 Best BMP Retrofit. Chesapeake Stormwater Network.