Public Education and Stormwater Compliance
The connection between the two
It is hard to over-emphasize the value of public education on the compliance results of stormwater inspections on MS4s. The education of the public has a direct correlation to the practices and habits of the populous nationwide.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), “Eighty percent of pollution to the marine environment comes from the land. One of the biggest sources is called nonpoint source pollution, which occurs as a result of runoff”
In an alarming statistic recorded recently, 27% of respondents who were asked stormwater was treated responded that stormwater is treated centrally just like sewer. That, of course, is incorrect. In the case where a city has a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), stormwater runoff is not treated centrally. Some newer sites will have site-based stormwater quality systems, but that is a small percentage in most developed cities.
While the inspection process is a good way to educate some of the public that manages stormwater systems, education needs to get out to a larger percentage of the population. There are several ways to do that, including meeting them at public gatherings, sending out educational material, and providing resources to schools that can help them to understand the connection between the actions taken on the land and the resulting pollution of our waterways.
NPDESPro understands this connection and has included some very innovative systems in its newest release, version 3.0. Our Public Education and Outreach module represents a great stride forward in making the connection between compliant stormwater inspections, public education, and water quality.
The Public Education module in NPDESPro allows the MS4 to send targeted educational emails to their residents based on their types of exposure they may have to stormwater systems. This ability to pinpoint the educational materials to the specific people that will benefit by them allows the MS4 to use information such as pollutants found in outfalls, site types and associated site contacts, etc. to highlight the types of stormwater education that might be most effective.
The result? Well, we’d love to report a huge increase in compliant inspections and overall water quality based on the public education efforts of our MS4 users, and we think we will be able to. However, our public education module is just getting started. It is powerful, however, and contains the algorithms in it to pinpoint educational material right where it is needed based on the information gathered over time.
Education and water quality go hand-in-hand. We are working to help MS4s educate their residents, improve water quality, and ease the burden of stormwater compliance.
Comply with Confidence!