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Riverside County streamlines stormwater compliance inspections & reporting and monitors fire impacts

Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District

Riverside County, CA

Riverside County Flood Control & Water Conservation District aimed to recover time spent on QA requirements for MS4 reporting and maintain compliance while monitoring long-term impacts of wildfire on water quality. Optimizing the MS4 inspection workflow has recovered hours of work time & maintains data integrity.

Topics Covered

Stormwater Management
Water Quality
Wildfire
Process Improvement

Cost

Initial: 70 Thousand USD

O&M: 5.6 Thousand USD

Funding

General Fund/Existing Public Funds

Project Status

Operational since 2018

Gov Champion

Riverside County Flood Control and Water Conservation District

Problem Addressed

The district wanted to improve the tracking of water chemistry parameters and automate the data processing required by the state.

The District protects residents from damaging flood and storm waters as the operator of drainage services in California's third fastest-growing area.

It performs NPDES compliance as the principal permittee on three MS4 permits issued by three regional water quality boards which oversee pollution control.

Strict adherence to Quality Assurance (QA) requirements and compliance reporting is the most time-consuming and most critical aspect of the District's stormwater management program.

Complexities include the following challenges:

• 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

Strict compliance to state QA and formatting requirements placed significant time constraints on district staff, who wanted to automate some of the data processing in order to recover and reallocate crucial labor hours.

Maintaining clean water compliance, especially after a number of historic wildfires in recent years, is the most critical aspect of the District’s stormwater management program. A solution was needed to track a wide array of water chemistry parameters.

Solutions Used

The district adopted a water monitoring system that enabled tracking of water parameters and automation within the MS4 data workflow.  

Before implementing KISTERS software, the District wanted to improve its own data collection process.

To lessen the wide variety of requirements for each sampling site and ensure the collection of all mandatory and relevant data during each field visit, District staff were equipped with mobile devices and a data collection mobile app. Logic and standardized responses in the app successfully navigate staff through the 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.)

After all field visit data are imported into KISTERS’ Water Quality platform, the District is enabled to track 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

Outcomes

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 is achieved with integrated KISTERS & Esri software, giving users option to use timeseries or GIS analytics suites.

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

IT tools address tedious, repetitive tasks, leaving field staff and subject matter experts to confront and resolve more complex tasks and projects.

2

Improving data QA/QC processes can start in the field. The mobile app recovers work time; staff don't manually transpose data after they return to the office.

3

The mobile app maximizes the utility of KISTERS IT solution, reducing unnecessary third party app licensing costs.

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.

Last Updated

Mar 25th, 2022
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