A Fresh, New Look to Annual Reporting, Capitalizing on Technology to Meet Regulatory Compliance

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) regulations have been a driving force behind stormwater programs for years.   Permittees develop their MS4 program plan according to the Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) outlined in their permit and typically use various tracking methodologies to log their progress whether in either a series of excel tables, scanned hardcopies of numerous components, or work management systems. Then annual reporting time comes, where there is a scramble to compile all that discretely stored information into one massive report to send to DEQ. Countless staff hours are put into the ongoing implementation and tracking of the program requirements, and then countless more putting together the annual report, often taking time away from program implementation.

The City of Lynchburg recognized that there are powerful data management tools out there that could be used to streamline annual reporting by capturing data digitally and automating the process.

Leveraging existing relationships with other departments and the City’s IT staff, the Lynchburg Water Resources team was able to discover access to existing tools that could be utilized to streamline reporting, automate workflows, and provide data analytics. With the addition of a Microsoft Power Platform advisor, the department had the vision and determination to configure and deploy a system for the collection, tracking, and reporting of data. This environment proved to be a cost-effective and collaborative platform for all involved.

Aside from providing efficiency to the exhaustive effort required, this will also help members of the program team visually manage their MCMs and provide real-time, visual snapshots of the program’s progress and day-to-day needs using Power BI.  An added benefit of this effort is that it will be able to provide greater transparency to department and City leadership.

This presentation will provide an overview of the implementation process, key decisions, and lessons learned along the way.