At a Glance
Stormwater management is a top priority for the Puget Sound region. Using a combination of citizen reported data and software Kitsap County has become a model for what the future of regional stormwater management should look like.
Stormwater doesn't follow political boundaries and so, local governments need to work together to manage regional watersheds. Enter Angela Gallardo, the County’s Stormwater division programs manager, who is responsible for source control and project planning within a patchwork of jurisdictions.
One of her first initiatives, when she entered her role, was to assess existing technologies and to evaluate the state of the County’s stormwater data. Her goal was to implement a comprehensive and integrated software stack to allow citizens to submit and track requests while providing staff with better data.
“When I came to Kitsap County in 2016, one of the first things I requested from our Kitsap1 call center was a list of drainage complaints over the prior five years,” said Gallardo. “I needed to see where the complaints were recurring so that I could prioritize projects. The County had, at that time, a 311 system they used, but it wasn’t GIS-based.”
This disconnect meant that though Gallardo had access to years of drainage complaint records, she couldn’t import them into ArcGIS in order to spot trends. She tried to geocode the Kitsap1 call center data manually in ArcGIS, but could only resolve four percent of the complaints’ locations.
The initial hurdles that Gallardo faced using the data from the County’s 311 system proved that Kitsap County needed a modern, integrated solution to receive and manage citizen stormwater requests.
Kitsap County, WA used/is using citizen request and operations management software to address this/these challenge(s).
Kitsap County relies on residents, SeeClickFix (citizen request management software) and Cartegraph (operations management software) to find and respond to issues quickly.
In choosing a replacement CRM for Kitsap County, Gallardo wanted to ensure that the selected system would integrate with Cartegraph, the County’s operations management system, and ArcGIS. She also wanted a CRM that offered multi-channel citizen and staff input options.
“We wanted a system that would be simple for residents, staff, and administrators,” said Gallardo. “We had a requirement under our [National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System] (NPDES) permit to map our assets, so we needed a system that would integrate with ArcGIS. We also wanted to make sure that our staff didn’t have to sign into multiple programs to figure out what was going on out there.”
After an analysis of best-in-class CRM solutions, Gallardo selected SeeClickFix to serve as the keystone of the County’s citizen request and issue reporting processes.
“SeeClickFix partners with Cartegraph and we have a bi-directional integration that utilizes our ArcGIS data and base maps,” said Gallardo. “We use ArcGIS for editing and adding new assets and for analysis for future planning. We use it for planning our basin prioritization right now and our capital facilities planning.”
Kitsap County’s stormwater team also uses SeeClickFix to assist in identifying the source of water body pollutants. The team inspects 7,200 catch basins annually, and oftentimes, the inspection reveals an upstream issue that is creating downstream consequences.
“Our teams find many water quality issues out there,” said Gallardo. “Previously, if there was a problem coming from a private site or a construction site, it would take a lot of staff time to research who was responsible.”
Gallardo recalls a specific investigation in which her team’s use of the SeeClickFix, Cartegraph, and ArcGIS helped to expedite the identification of a pollutant source.
“We had a crew working at a stream restoration site, and the water coming down the stream was chocolate brown,” said Gallardo. “The team didn’t know if there was a slope blowout somewhere, and it was a pretty long, linear area. It would have taken them a long time to track the source. But they looked at data available on their iPads right in the field and saw within SeeClickFix a series of complaints of turbid water leaving a nearby construction site at the top of the hill.”
According to Gallardo, previously, such complaints would have only been sent to the Department of Community Development, so the stormwater team wouldn’t have known about them.
“With the data inside SeeClickFix, our team red-tagged the site, the construction crew fixed their BMPs [best management practices] and all was good after that.”
- Citizens of all technical capabilities can submit stormwater reports via the County's call center, via SeeClickFix's mobile app, and via SeeClickFix's embeddable web portal
- Regardless of the intake method, all of the requests live in one repository - SeeClickFix. This makes coordinating a response and future research much easier.
- Kitsap County provides SeeClickFix access to multiple County departments, so even if a citizen calls the wrong department their issue is captured. Angela thinks of it as a "distributed 311.”
- SeeClickFix makes it easy to follow up with residents to let them know that their request was received and what's being done about it.
- Service Requests are automatically created in Cartegraph making it easier for staff to incorporate resident requests into their workflow.
- As Kitsap County works on ways to address the realities of climate change, they realize their best hope must come from the collection and analysis of good data.
Kitsap County relies on close collaboration between government, citizens and software providers to achieve its ultimate goal of making better, data-driven decisions for how it protects its environment and its citizens.
Who Should Consider?
Local governments who want data to influence their stormwater responses and CIP planning.