Stormwater inspection methods across the country are as varied as the over 7,000 MS4s in operation across the country. Of course this is to be expected, as the level of oversight and regulation are still in development from location to location, and the terrain each MS4 is in is varied, too. What are the inspection practices out there and how do they differ? Let's take a look.
The NPDES regulations outline six (6) control measures that all MS4s need to practice. For review, they are: Public Education & Outreach, Public Participation, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE), Management of Construction Runoff, Management of Post-Construction Runoff, and Good Housekeeping. Those are six fairly defined measures. However, within those six measures, the practices of individual MS4s to satisfy those six requirements are extremely varied.
The first thing to note is that the way a stormwater utility refers to each inspection type is as varied as the MS4s themselves. Take, for instance, the inspection of private system storm structures in a storm system for the purpose of determining if they are in good working order and/or if they have been properly cleaned and maintained. One MS4 calls this an O&M (Operations & Maintenance) inspection, the next a Facilities inspection, the next a Private Drainage Inspection. These titles (and many others) may be used for the exact same type of inspection - Its only after you start asking questions and reviewing the inspection sheets that you begin to see that each one of these names refer to the same type of inspection.
Another significant difference is the job title of the people doing the inspecting. Some MS4s have the budgets to name individual people for each type of inspection, with one being only construction inspections, another being only industrial inspections, and another only doing facilities inspections. In other MS4s, particularly smaller ones, we see the same person doing all stormwater inspection types, maybe even while they hold down another role completely disconnected from stormwater at the same time.
Another big difference is the forms each MS4 uses. We have seen forms as simple as notebook paper notes scanned into the computer all the way to complex database forms that are built by an internal IT department and deployed through the internal network.
NPDESPro has experience on-boarding MS4s to our platform from systems that range all over the map. We have on-boarded users who gave us notebook paper notes taken over the years, users that have provided us complex databases, and everything in between. We have moved users over from other on-line systems, as well, so we are well-versed in getting your system into our application and up-and-running fast.
Plus, our next version of NPDESPro, version 3.0, will allow you to include all your historical information, on-board to our powerful system, and still maintain all the names and verbiage you and your staff have learned over the years. Ultimately, bringing on a new MS4 management system shouldn't mean you need to re-train everyone. You developed your MS4 processes for a reason, and NPDESPro works with those processes and will streamline your system to make it hum.