Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Can "Smart" Ponds Save the Bay?

Environmentalists are turning to ponds to help save the Chesapeake Bay. But these are not ordinary ponds - they're called smart ponds.

It's the latest technology in Bay restoration. One is located just north of the Fruitland Walmart behind a chain-linked fence near the parking lot.

It's a program with a public-private partnership including the Maryland Department of Transportation and Walmart. Leaders from across the state celebrated the news on Tuesday.

"This will be a national program and Maryland will be first," MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn said.

Three more ponds scattered across the state will work to reduce stormwater pollution. MDOT Assistant Secretary Charles Glass says the project took nearly two years to complete.

"A smart pond actually can control holding back some of the water," Glass said. "That means you have more time for sedimentation, which removes nutrients."
But what is a "smart" pond. I had to google another article to get a rudimentary description of how they work:
“Normally this pond would just drain, and it wouldn’t do anything else, but water would fall and come in from parking lot and buildings and then it would just fill up and then drain,” Dr. Charles Glass, Assistant Secretary for the Maryland Department of Transportation, said.

But with this new technology unveiled, ponds like one in Fruitland will be able to sustain themselves more effectively.

“This technology a little allows it to fill up, and, like a bathtub, hold the water if we want to, or release the water if we want to based on storms coming or storms already being passed,” Dr. Glass said.
It's still not entirely clear if the pond is an autonomous robot which gets a weather forecast and decides whether or not to retain more water, or whether it reports to a central facility, which makes the decision. Either way, it's kind of a cool idea, but just wait until Russia starts hacking our retention ponds.

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