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Tracking Stormwater Pollutants from Lawns to Lakes Informs Capital Projects & Public Education

St Paul, MN, USA

At a Glance

Capitol Region Watershed District manages stormwater runoff to protect and manage wetlands, lakes and some Mississippi River headwaters in the densely urbanized Twin Cities area. Ambitious water quality goals require optimal water quality data management and analysis for science-based decisions.

Problem Addressed

With 10 years of data and future plans to add more continuous flow sensors and water quality sampling events, The District needed process improvement. Its current records management workflow was time-consuming. In addition staff had aggressive goals to better analyze data, in order to identify source contaminants and enable professionals to focus on water quality improvements.

Capitol Region Watershed District used/is using KISTERS Water Quality Management software to address this/these challenge(s).

Solution(s) Used

In 2016 the District adopted commercial and efficient stormwater quality software to define and apply its own specific rules and procedures to its data. After automated quality control tasks, staff have access to extensive tools to further correct data points as well as evaluate flow measurements with analytical lab results. Data visualization options quickly contextualize current and past high flow events, plus baseflow and other trends on daily, monthly, seasonal or storm event bases.

After implementing the new system, the District added a KISTERS web portal to invite other agencies, research institutions and the public to interact with its open data. Website visitors can select standard or custom time periods of interest, explore the map, view as well as download graphs, charts and tables.

Outcomes

  1. Automated application of storm event definitions and calculation of pollutant loads are more consistent compared to manually applied definitions & TMDL computations.
  2. Time-savings from from automation enable expanded data analysis and better engage professional staff, so findings inform capital projects and program planning.
  3. More accurate long-term statistics, graphs and maps are presented online to the public, enhancing education about clean water.

Something Unique

A custom script was identified and implemented to compute high flow events; the District further adapted the script to each monitoring station's variable factors, such as flashiness or temporarily sustained high flows following a storm event.

Who Should Consider?

District w ambitious mixed use redevelopment plans. Adv data validation, calculation & analysis informed plans to sustainably manage stormwater on 122-acre former Ford Assembly Plant on Mississippi River bluff.