A wide, open field of close cut brown grass. The center of the field forms a slight depression holding water for a shallow stormwater pond. The pond is ringed by tall, mature trees.
Reducing Stormwater Pollution A project to retrofit Chesapeake Bay watershed retention ponds with new technology will allow for water retention and release to be controlled remotely. © Matt Kane/TNC

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TNC/Opti Development Partners LLC and partners announce completion of stormwater pilot project in Maryland to protect Chesapeake Bay water quality

Three stormwater retention ponds have been retrofitted with new “smart pond” technology to reduce polluted runoff.

TNC/Opti Development Partners LLC, a joint venture of The Nature Conservancy and smart stormwater management provider Opti, today announced it had completed the pilot phase of a project to retrofit stormwater retention ponds with new technology to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality.

TNC/Opti Development Partners LLC was joined in making the announcement by state partners including the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE), and the Maryland Environmental Service (MES). The three ponds included in the pilot are located in Hagerstown, Fruitland and Aberdeen; all of them on properties owned by Walmart.

“The success of this pilot project would not have been possible without the establishment of unique public-private partnerships, and for that we have to thank the leadership and support of the State of Maryland and Walmart,” said Craig Holland, CEO of TNC/Opti Development Partners LLC. “We hope the model of public-private and interagency cooperation established here can be replicated throughout the rest of the Bay watershed and across the country to meet the growing demand for cost-effective infrastructure upgrades like these.”

"We are thrilled with the successful completion of the HP3 project, made possible by partnering with The Nature Conservancy, Walmart, MES and MDOT, who have all embraced an innovative approach to water quality enabled by Opti's innovative solution. The economic and environmental benefits are a major win-win for the citizens of Maryland, the local Walmart communities and the Chesapeake Bay as a whole. We look forward to expanding this program within the Bay and to a multitude of agencies and communities across the United States,” said Opti Strategic Partnerships Manager, Matt Rea.

Combined, these three ponds will treat runoff from more than 80 acres of impervious surface, including nearby parking lots.  The smart pond technology will allow water to be held for longer periods of time, thereby preventing approximately 77% of sediment, 60% of phosphorous, and 39% of nitrogen from entering local streams and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. 

We're setting an example for the nation on how to combine creative forces for cleaner water and safer communities in the face of climate change and local flooding.

Maryland Environment Secretary

Opti provides a cloud-based platform with products that enable Continuous Monitoring and Adaptive Control (CMAC) of stormwater storage assets. These products consist of a set of field-deployed equipment including sensors, actuated valves, a cellular web gateway, and a cloud-based operations engine. The fully automated control product leverages weather forecasts to predictively move water in advance of inclement weather.

“This innovative project is a great example of the power of public-private partnerships and collaboration,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater. “Together with our partners, we are helping better the environment and setting an example for others to follow across the country.”

“We're setting an example for the nation on how to combine creative forces for cleaner water and safer communities in the face of climate change and local flooding," said Maryland Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles. “We all win when environmental and transportation agencies work together with business and conservation leaders to deliver innovative solutions."

“As part of the community, Walmart is honored to be part of the solution to improve Chesapeake Bay water quality through this partnership,” said Toni McCrory, Senior Director, Environmental, Health, and Safety Compliance, Walmart Inc. “The completion of these projects reinforces our goal of becoming a regenerative company by helping to protect and restore nature. Enhancing our existing stormwater assets under this program allows us to work smarter by helping to remove pollution, restore natural hydrology, and reduce flooding in a cost effective and sustainable manner. We appreciate our partners who helped make this possible.”

TNC/Opti Development Partners LLC is now in conversations with additional landowners and corporations in all 50 states and mapping new stormwater pond retrofit opportunities across hundreds of thousands of additional acres. Learn more about Opti and TNC’s stormwater work in Maryland and DC.

Read the Maryland Department of Transportation’s press release on the pond completion.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 75 countries and territories: 37 by direct conservation impact and 38 through partners, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.