Advanced Data Collection: Modern Web-Enabled Monitoring Solutions Pave Way for Efficient Stormwater Management

SCS Engineers has developed a user-friendly app, called SCS eTools, that consists of a series of forms for documenting water quality- and quantity-related field observations. It includes dry-weather and wet-weather forms with inputs for discharge estimations, in-situ pH and temperature readings, GPS location, time stamping, automated error checking, and photo capture.

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A wide range of innovative technologies are available to stormwater monitoring programs for accurately and efficiently managing data. For large-scale programs, for example, the use of automated monitoring is an innovative approach to reduce labor and collect high-quality runoff data.

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Campbell Scientific's web-based telemetry system is an example of advanced stormwater monitoring that allows real-time display of flow rates, rainfall and sample history.

Most monitoring stations are equipped with automated samplers as well as flowmeters, solar panels and telemetry devices that allow retrieval of dry weather data, antecedent rainfall data and stormwater water quality and flow data.

Several vendors offer the ability to custom design telemetry systems that can push this data and sample history directly to a website, SharePoint or database of the client's choosing. This machine-to-machine (M2M) technology uses a logger in conjunction with a 4G cellular modem with an internet connection. The real-time data and programming capabilities are available to Internet-connected computers, 3G and 4G smart phones and iPads.

Optimizing data collection for stormwater programs can be accomplished with cutting-edge technology, such as using a smartphone or app. Accordingly, SCS Engineers has developed a user-friendly app that can be used on multiple devices and operating systems (iPhones, iPads, Android, tablets, etc.).

Called SCS eTools, the app consists of a series of forms for documenting water quality- and quantity-related field observations. It includes dry-weather and wet-weather observation forms with inputs for discharge estimations, in-situ pH and temperature readings, GPS location, time stamping, automated error checking, and photo capture.

The user submits the completed digital form from the device, and the data is then uploaded to a secure database where reports are developed for export in Microsoft Excel or PDF formats. Field data sheets can be compiled into summary tables from the SCS eTools platform.

By replacing clipboards with an app for smartphones and tablets, inspection staff can automatically submit collected data to a database, resulting in improved accuracy; customize forms for multiple devices, providing flexibility; track laboratory analytical results; and quickly assess facility status, missed inspection reports or exceedances through the web-based interface.

Using systems like these can reduce labor by 30 to 40 percent, significantly increase safety, allow field crews to respond quickly to equipment failures, and improve overall sample accuracy. For more information, visit www.scsengineers.com.

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