C+S July 2021 Vol. 7 Issue 7 (web)

Stormwater management and compliance is necessary to meet often- changing — and sometimes challenging — regulations that serve to protect the environment and our natural resources. But compliance is often associated with confusion, reams of paper and disjointed pro- cesses that can lead to missteps and potential regulatory scrutiny or even fines. Proper stormwater management isn’t, however, just about maintaining compliance and avoiding fines. It has the potential to reduce flooding, improve the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater, and help growing cities and regions strike a balance between protecting natural resources and nurturing economic growth. Few regions of the country know this impending collision between nature and growth more than Texas. More than 500,000 people moved to the state in 2019, which was the seventh year in a row Texas experienced an influx of as many residents, according to the 2021 Texas Relocation Report released by Texas Realtors. The Lone Star state also is no stranger to the pendulum swing of extreme drought and excessive flooding. Raba Kistner, a Texas-based engineering consulting and program management firm, for 25 years has successfully navigated stormwater issues for clients and kept them compliant with the Texas Commis - sion on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as well as local authorities. The firm has extensive experience integrating industrial and construction permits, as well as separating and segregating them to help clients reach their goals and objectives. In Texas alone, there are roughly 9,000 indus - trial stormwater permit holders. Yet many permit holders are not aware of or have difficulty with the maintenance required to maintain their stormwater permits. For years, the Environmental Compliance Services team at Raba Kist - ner developed and honed a StormWater Compliance service to address this issue that is currently in place for clients at over 200 locations statewide. However, the team wanted to further simplify and stream - line the process by leveraging their experience and expertise with tech- nology. Existing software programs still required users to input tasks, schedules, and requirements. This can be a daunting task because it takes mastering both the regulations and the software. So, the Raba Kistner team used a combined 50 years of environmental experience and 30 years of stormwater compliance experience to develop their own software as a service (SaaS), called Simpli Stormwater. This cloud-based Environmental Management System (EMS) is spe - cific to TCEQ’s Stormwater Multi-Sector General Permit for industrial facilities. The solution takes the knowledge and experience of storm- Simplifying Stormwater Compliance By Clayton Hall

water compliance experts and uses an artificial intelligence component to translate the compliance process into a turnkey program that can be easily accessed, understood, and quickly updated as regulations change. The fatal flaws for most stormwater programs are record management and continuity. Because of the complexity of regulations, inspections can be easily misfiled, follow-up actions are missed, and staff turnover can make tracking data and maintaining records difficult. Failure to comply often is simply due to a lack of understanding and process, rather than a lack of desire to protect the environment. Simpli Stormwater ensures compliance with automatic reminders for important steps or events, such as emails for quarterly inspections that come with a checklist, and the ability to upload findings and data di - rectly to the cloud from the field with a tablet or smartphone. Synced rain gauges generate automated rain logs and send push notifications to collect samples. Required forms are easily accessible, customized and compliant. Online dashboards allow permit holders to manage stormwater remotely and gather real-time information on multiple sites at any time. The cloud-based document management system automati- cally sends reports to required parties. This allows permit holders to do everything correctly the first time while providing trackable, transparent, and easily accessible results for regulatory authorities. Simplifying the regulatory process and compli- ance through services such as Simpli Stormwater also helps clients


july 2021


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