Closing the Loop Between Regional Monitoring Programs, Discharger Data and Municipal Source Investigations
To protect and restore the chemical, physical and biological integrity of our waters, we must close the loop between water quality concerns and the underlying factors responsible for them. While construction, industrial and municipal stormwater programs do a relatively good job monitoring for problems, assessment and resolution of these problems has often proven more challenging.
In 2012, the San Diego Regional Water Board released a “Framework for Water Quality Monitoring” detailing three assessment questions that programs should seek to answer:
(1) What are the primary stressors causing unsatisfactory conditions? (“Stressor Identification”)
(2) What are the major sources of the primary stressor? (“Source Identification”)
(3) Are management actions effective? (“Performance”)
While each regional board has its own way of asking these questions, they remain common throughout, driven by the National Water Quality Monitoring Council’s “Framework for Water Quality Monitoring”.
In this session, CloudCompli and Orange County Public Works will present a model for how municipal programs can go about answering these questions. Building upon their first place entry in the 2016 California Water Board Data Innovation Challenge and on a case study currently being conducted within Orange County, the collaborators will present a three phase model for addressing water quality issues based off of the San Diego Regional Water Board’s question-based assessment methodology:
(1) STRESSOR IDENTIFICATION using automated computational processes that model commonly accepted analytical and statistical measures to isolate the spatial and temporal locality of crisis points.
(2) SOURCE IDENTIFICATION by aggregating multiple open data sets (including SMARTS, CIWQS and local data) onto a GIS platform for visualization with statistically-driven measures to support prioritization.
(3) PERFORMANCE through a model that automatically alerts responsible parties and prompts them with a way to record follow up actions to link between identification and resolution.
Specifically, the collaborators will share the tools they’re using to accomplish these tasks, including research findings, open source software and a publicly-accessible web tool. They will also share real-world experiences from Orange County Public Works, the Principal Permittee under the MS4 permits issued by the San Diego and Santa Ana Regional Water Boards for the land area of Orange County, in using these tools to “close the loop” between the findings of Orange County’s regional monitoring programs and the actions taken by Orange County and its Co-Permittees to resolve issues highlighted by these programs.
Additionally, the collaborators will discuss how they developed the models and methods of their particular implementation, and how their approach can be translated to fit assessment methodologies such as the California Stream Condition Index (CSCI), the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project’s sediment quality objectives (SQOs), the CCME Water Quality Index, and basin plans specific to other regions of California.
Throughout this presentation, a recurring theme will be the need for integrated programs that transcend traditional municipal borders and tap into open data coming from all strata of the water quality space.