A High-Level Perspective on The 2015-16 Industrial Stormwater Quality Data entered into the California Storm Water Multiple Action And Report Tracking System (SMARTS) Database
ABSTRACT Over the past few decades, many countries across the globe have been pursuing open data initiatives. Many agencies, both public and private, now release data in publicly-available machine-readable formats to drive innovation and solve complex problems. While it is the mission of the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) and the nine California regional water quality boards (RWQCB) to achieve compliance with the Porter-Cologne Act and the federal Clean Water Act, measuring effectiveness in carrying out this specific mission requires a detailed understanding of existing water quality conditions in the vast amount of water bodies throughout California. State agencies, such as the SWRCB, have started to make water quality datasets available to the public to enable a hopefully better and definitely a more holistic understanding of the presented stormwater quality data. This specific study presents a high-level industrial stormwater quality data perspective of the recently incorporated Industrial General Permit (IGP) requirements to enter the analytical results within 30 days after receipt of the laboratory report in the California Storm Water Multiple Action and Report Tracking System (SMARTS), in short the SMARTS database. Specifically the SMARTS database provides a central electronic repository for stormwater data in California, including permitting, inspection, monitoring, and violation documents. This study only reviews a small portion of the monitoring component incorporated into SMARTS. PRESENTATION CONTENT The presentation will (1) define our approach to review the entered industrial stormwater quality data (regional, industry based (SIC code), etc…, (2) show how the entered stormwater quality data in the SMARTS database fits into overall Industrial General Permit requirements and evaluate if the Numeric Action Levels (NALs), which are “set-in-stone” in Table 2 of the IGP, actually have relevancy for all parameters, (3) describe the observations and findings from the high-level review of the analytical data per each listed constituent in Table 2 of the IGP, and (4) summarize those high level observations on the stormwater quality data analysis and potentially provide some paths forward to make the SMARTs database better and potentially see greater benefits. We reviewed the entered stormwater quality data set in a variety of ways: from number of individual parameter exceedances in regards to total values entered per parameter and per RWQCB vis-à-vis the entire state, we reviewed individual SIC codes and made potential inferences on how your “peers” are managing stormwater at their facilities, etc…We furthermore describe how we have addressed Non-Detects, Zero’s, odd “black swan” type of outliers and how we have “cleaned up the dataset” in general. We furthermore reviewed the entire set of data per parameter as listed in Table 2 of the IGP and reviewed its statistical distribution in relation to the individual NAL values. Certain parameters, such as Magnesium, have a 100% chance of exceedance if measured. While others have very little chance of exceedance, such as PCB’s and Mercury, and perhaps the listed method used and specified in Table 2 of the IGP is not appropriate to result in the desired Water Quality Objective. In summary, the SMARTS database is a “basic database” to summarize each “dischargers” permit requirements. However, since it is publically available, quite a lot more analysis, from statistical to geographical, can be performed on the entered stormwater data to get a better sense of how this part of the Industrial General Permit’s mission to improve stormwater quality in the State of California potentially will be achieved. As always, if only a few small tweaks (such as adding the type of advanced BMP) could be made to this “basic database”, quite a lot more information could be gathered relatively easily and would make this database a lot more user friendly.
Dr. Tim Bauters is an associate and senior consultant who provides project management and implementation of geotechnical, civil, solid waste, hazardous waste, and environmental projects. He has considerable experience in stormwater management planning, including hydrologic analysis, floodplain analysis, drainage design, and stormwater quality/quantity control design (i.e., detention pond modeling and design, infiltration facility design, stormwater pollution prevention plans [SWPPPs], and erosion prevention and sediment control plans [EPSCP]).