What is SMART?
High schools and diverse communities coming together to collect data, develop solutions, and educate the public about stormwater pollution and management. The SMART program particularly encourages those underrepresented in the STEM field to apply and take advantage of all the opportunities the SMART program offers.
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is runoff water from rain or melting snow that drains across the landscape. The water picks up pollutants as it flows off rooftops, pavement, bare soil, and lawns. It gathers in increasingly large amounts (from puddles, to ditches, to streams, to lakes and rivers) until it eventually flows into the ocean. Everything that is on the ground surface, whether it be oils and greases, pet waste, metals, or fertilizers and pesticides, eventually makes its way to our waterways by way of our storm sewers/catch basins.
Why is stormwater important?
By carrying numerous kinds of pollution into our waterways, storm water itself becomes a pollutant. Even in very small amounts, many of these pollutants can cause problems. Polluted waterways cause species loss and deformity, and degradation of water quality decreases human enjoyment of waterways and ecosystem health. Polluted stormwater runoff is varied, ubiquitous, and very difficult to address its sources.
Treating stormwater is both expensive financially and in terms of environmental and ecological costs.
What impact does SMART have on stormwater
Municipalities do not have the resources to monitor and map the flow of their stormwater with the level of detail necessary; the amount of water is too great and the sources of pollution too diverse in both area and type. The SMART program fills this need by bringing diverse students and their communities together to improve their local water bodies through data collection, innovate engineering solutions, and public outreach.
Who can participate in SMART?
Those underrepresented in the STEM field (women, minorities, people with disabilities, etc.) are strongly encouraged to apply.
UMaine SMART Program
SMART Institute 2017 Photo Slideshow
The SMART program is made possible by the National Science Foundation.