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Since the new Industrial General Permit (IGP) rolled out to California companies in 2015, all stormwater reporting is conducted online through the State of California’s Storm Water Multiple Applications and Reporting System or SMARTS. Despite the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) initiating the move into electronic reporting, most monitoring by companies is still done with pen and paper. But why? What is the real cost to a business? Is there a better stormwater monitoring program?

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The Costs of an Outdated Approach

The answer is that most consulting companies have not been able to make the transition from old-school ways of business (pen and paper) to these new-school methods (apps and online software). However, this creates a problem if the regulators are pushing for electronic solutions such as SMARTS and consulting companies cannot keep up. There are many monitoring programs to choose from, but very little variety in the services they offer; paper monitoring forms (i.e. monthly monitoring and sampling event observation forms), SWPPP (Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan) binders that you are supposed to stuff till they break with 5 years of paperwork, site map preparation (some of which look like a 3rd grader’s drawing) and outdated suggestions and advice.

So you as an environmental or EHS manager are given massive piles of paperwork, bad advice and sloppy maps, then you’re left to fend for your facilities’ compliance. You need a question answered? Wait until you see your consultant’s bill. I hope it was good advice. What happens when it’s time to manage your SMARTS account? Well, you are left to figure out a website that is not necessarily as user-friendly as it’s name suggests. Or, what if the Water Board comes to give you an inspection and the manager who oversees the stormwater program is out sick? Are you going to be able to find the SWPPP binder(s) with all 5 years of paperwork you are required to keep? Even worse, what will happen when you get a Notice of Intent to sue, because your SWPPP was inadequate or your sampling data was over the NAL (Numeric Action Level) and no one notified you? We see these kinds of issues at facilities all the time because a consulting company signed them up and threw them to the wolves.

The biggest mistakes we see with the old approach:

  • Outdated SWPPPs and site maps, because consultants are expensive
  • Missing paperwork due to staff changes or no system in place
  • Lawsuits or fines, because sampling results were not checked
  • Sampling errors due to a consultant not supporting their client year round

 

A Better Way to Industrial Stormwater Permits

What if there was a tool that could eliminate the paper pushing and constant emails to your colleagues, keep all records in one place for easy access by all stormwater team members and even send out alerts when there are issues with your stormwater program? Lucky for you the founders at Mapistry thought of all of these problems and created a stormwater compliance solution built just for facilities that do all of this and more. Not only does Mapistry offer this amazing software program, but as part of our monitoring program we back it with the advice and support of our stormwater experts. Yup, Mapistry QISPs, engineers, and consultants take the time to quickly (most times within 15 minutes) respond to your questions via a phone call or an email.

 

We have created a new-age, stormwater monitoring program where we provide our members, companies just like you, with software to conduct monthly monitoring, sampling event observations forms and the ability to track stormwater sampling data with exceedance notifications and automatic averaging of results (so long excel spreadsheets!). The software compliance platform also sends weather alert emails to all team members, letting everyone know when there is an anticipated storm event so that samplers can be prepared. No need to go to your consultant with a simple SWPPP or site map update, with Mapistry’s software you can quickly and painlessly make adjustments yourself.

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We have rolled out some great new features for 2017, including an automated rain log (with a photo attachment option to demonstrate no discharge if applicable). In addition, facilities have the ability to take pictures with our phone app and attach them to your monthly observations so that everyone is clear on the exact locations of BMP (Best Management Practice) deficiencies and what corrective actions are needed. This is how you “close the loop” on problems before the problems show up in your stormwater sample results (and get you into the dark days of stormwater – citizen lawsuits).

 

It is very common for people, who are not chemists, to have a hard time finding their sampling results in the whirlpool of numbers on their lab reports. Our experts can help you to decipher your lab report and make sure you are not uploading the wrong information onto SMARTS causing exceedances from false data results (oops, you mean ug/L is different than mg/L. My bad). Do you struggle with Ad Hoc reports and having to manually input data to SMARTS? Not an issue anymore! We can show you how to easily input your sampling data into Mapistry’s software to generate a file you can upload into SMARTS, making the process seamlessly simple while minimizing the possibility of human error.

 

People Solving Your Problems

So this software is great, but what about the times when you need a question answered from a human being, or your facility goes into Level 1 or Level 2 and you need a QISP (Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioner) or PE (Professional Engineer) to conduct an evaluation and write a report? Our monitoring program does not stop at the software. Our stormwater experts are here to answer questions and help 24/7 (preferably during normal business hours but we’re night owls too). We also have a great working relationship with the Water Board so we can troubleshoot SMARTS or compliance issues that may occur while your facility is under the California Industrial General Permit (IGP). Dealing with citizen lawsuits? We can help you there too, but we would rather you didn’t get to that point, so we help you set up a good defense beforehand. Part of that defense is TRAINING! Are you doing annual stormwater team training? What about general awareness training for ALL staff? Nope? Well, you are missing out on one of the cheapest, easiest ways to have a rockstart stormwater program. As part of our stormwater monitoring program, we will come visit your facility at least once a year to do your annual training, don’t worry it doesn’t hurt. In addition, the team at Mapistry is here, continuously monitoring your program, to ensure you stay in compliance with record keeping, sampling requirements, and BMP implementation.