Modernizing Stormwater Permit Inspections With Mobile Applications
Kevin Bingham, GISP—GIS Manager, Town of Collierville
Located 35 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Memphis, Tennessee is the Town of Collierville, with a population of approximately 52,000. The heart of the community is Collierville Town Square, a cozy park surrounded by unique shops and restaurants. Collierville has an exceptional standard of safety, stewardship, and education to provide a high quality of life for its residents.
Collierville's stormwater system is made up of nearly 300 miles of pipes and drainage features and more than 13,000 stormwater structures (inlets, headwalls, manholes, etc.). With more than 50 inches of rain annually, stormwater permit management is crucial for the protection of Tennessee's water, the prevention of flooding, and the preservation of private property. A stormwater permit is issued before construction begins on a site, and inspections are conducted monthly until construction is complete. Collierville's engineering division is responsible for ensuring that construction projects meet the requirements specified by the stormwater permit issued by the State of Tennessee. In the past year, 1,894 inspections were completed.
Replacing manual processes
For a couple of years, inspectors used a digital form linked to a Microsoft Access database to collect information in the field. There was no map or visual representation of stormwater permits. Inspectors spent a lot of time searching and confirming that the correct permit was being referenced. When the form linked to the database stopped working, the inspectors began using paper. This resulted in inspections taking more time to complete and work being duplicated. Back at the office, the data collected on paper had to be manually entered into the Access database. No staff member knew how to fix the digital form, and there was no budget to hire someone. This led to discussions about how to replace the workflow with existing resources.