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The City of Cloquet is using technology in clever ways to make their stormwater pollution prevention program (SWPPP) efficient. City staff answered our questions about how technology fits into their overall stormwater program management and reduces some administrative burdens so they can spend more resources on protecting water quality. Cloquet staff have agreed to provide their spreadsheets for other MS4 staff to use, see File:Cloquet BMP checklist.xlsx.

  • Question: You’re managing and organizing your overall stormwater pollution prevention program (SWPPP) with spreadsheets that track your progress toward your SWPPP Document goals and permit requirements. Tell us about how you use these documents.
    • Answer: The City of Cloquet uses notes and hyperlinks within an Excel spreadsheet to organize records associated with the city’s MS4 permit. The spreadsheet works as a checklist with the ability to record notes on progress to completing the tasks laid out in the MS4 permit. The notes contain detailed data on BMP sheet requirements, Permit language, actions taken on that item, etc.. The hyperlinks used have connections to documents in our network that pertain to specific permit requirements and actions taken to meet that requirement, reducing the amount of time staff spend digging through electronic folders.
  • Question: How do you feel this management system is benefiting your stormwater management program?
    • Answer: The initial set up of the spreadsheet required pulling together all the pieces of our MS4 permit in one place. Completing this process allowed for a good understanding of what has been included in Cloquet’s SWPPP and subsequent reauthorization. It also creates a template that can be reused annually to measure our progress in meeting the goals we have set out as well as document when we make changes to our SWPPP. This approach has been beneficial in collecting a wealth of information in one location.
  • Question: You’re also using a completely web based mapping system that is fully integrated within your program. Do you think this is making your stormwater program more efficient?
    • Answer: In Cloquet, we use a web based GIS mapping system that contains our inventory of stormwater facilities and records of inspections of those facilities. This system puts all the information in the hands of our public works crews via mobile devices. When they are making repairs, doing maintenance or inspections they are connected to all the information available. With access to this information they can locate the stormwater infrastructure and understand its history and needs in real time in the field, making their work more efficient and our records better organized.
  • Question: What's your biggest obstacle to complying with MS4 requirements, and how did you overcome it?
    • Answer: One of the biggest challenges we face is the volume of information associated with our MS4 permit and trying to keep it organized. We have looked at software products out there that are designed for this purpose but felt we wanted the flexibility to customize the type of information and how it is presented and so we developed this spreadsheet based approach.
  • Question: How can other MS4s apply your ideas to their communities to further stormwater protection across the state?
    • Answer: We have provided a copy of the spreadsheet we use for other MS4’s to look at and see if they wish to implement the concepts of notes and hyperlinks in their MS4 record keeping.

This page was last edited on 2 June 2021, at 15:10.

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