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Streamlining MS4 Stormwater Quality Compliance Inspections & Reporting amid Growth + Wildfire Risk

Riverside County, CA, USA
KISTERS North America
Contact Partner

Goverment Champion

Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District


70 Thousand USD
5.6 Thousand USD

Project Status

Operational since 2018


Water Quality
mobile app
Workflow Automation

Challenges Addressed

Stormwater Management
Water Quality
Process Improvement


Smart city
Resilient city
Sustainable city

Funding / Financing

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Type


At a Glance

Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District is tasked with protecting residents from damaging flood & storm waters. As operator of drainage services in California's 3rd fastest growing area, it performs NPDES compliance as the Principal Permittee on 3 MS4 permits issued by 3 regional WQ boards.

Problem Addressed

Strict adherence to Quality Assurance (QA) requirements and compliance reporting are the most time-consuming and most critical aspects of the District's stormwater management program. Complexities include:

* An excessive collection and storage of metadata from discrete grab sampling events at specific locations and times to thorough review of lab analyses for particular constituents

* A mixture of frequency of monitoring and approach to each monitoring event at each site, from 1 to 6 times per year, to address prescribed components of each MS4 permit

* During each field visit, staff may collect information for up to 80 different data fields

* Collecting, managing and analyzing thousands of water quality data points during wet and dry weather monitoring seasons in one year

* Maintaining an auditable chain of custody (COC) documents and lab results

Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District used/is using KISTERS Water Quality Information System to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

First, to ensure staff collect all mandatory and relevant data during each field visit, the District equipped personnel with mobile devices and a data collection mobile app. Logic & standardized responses in the app successfully navigate staff through nuances of each monitoring location. In addition to options to attach images and videos, the app confirms sampling locations, reduces transcription errors and readily imports data into the data management system. (Refer to the 'Additional Attributes' screen capture in the image gallery.)

Then, KISTERS’ Water Quality platform tracks a wide array of parameters and automates a significant part of the MS4 data workflow:

* Download of lab EDD files from ftp, email, web, and other sources

* Verification of actual lab results and ordered lab analysis and usage of approved vocabulary

(Refer to the 'Sample Results' screen capture in the image gallery; parameter value exceedances are noted in red font.)

* Analysis and verification of reporting limits, objectives and NPDES permit requirements


  1. District personnel are able to recover hours (or days) and reallocate time to other responsibilities. Automated alerts notify staff when their attention to more pressing issues is needed.
  2. Assurance of data completeness & field data collection objectives using Survey 123; information from the app easily syncs with KISTERS database + software since KISTERS is an Esri partner
  3. Maintenance of strict control and tracking of data and metadata integrity using full audit trail features in the software and District-defined quality assurance rules
  4. Extensive storage & analytics apply to data & metadata sets, tracking changes over time to sampling conditions at sites, collection/processing methods, analytical & observational methods

Lessons Learned

  1. Data QA/QC can start in the field. Configure the mobile app with acceptable answers & automatically run QA/QC rules when field data are imported into the Water Quality Information System.
  2. Dignify personnel. Subject matter experts & field staff are recognized for human abilities & problem-solving, while IT tools are deployed for tedious, repetitive tasks.
  3. Promote smart growth despite extreme fire risk. Data & metadata are available for deeper analysis in the KISTERS system, which easily integrates with GIS tools by Esri or other developers.

Something Unique

The District has empowered WQ staff. They have the ability within the software to directly add new constituents & results for each monitoring site, station, characteristic, or method as needed. They can further reconfigure validation & verification rules as NPDES compliance requirements may change over time.

Who Should Consider?

Any Principal Permittee on a MS4 permit but especially those with multiple permits, or complicated inspection and reporting demands as described above.

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