Erosion and Sediment Control
30 Minute Presentation
Playing Catch-Up: Modernizing Durham County's Erosion Control Inspections and Data Collection
For more than ten years, Durham County has utilized paper files and a Microsoft Access-based database for its stormwater and land disturbance permitting and inspections. This has created file cabinets full of paper files including applications, deeds, project checklists, erosion control and stormwater plans, letters, permits, and inspection reports. The Access-based database is useful for storing project information and producing minor reports but is limited in its capabilities. Over the past year, the County has worked with the Durham City-County GiS Department to modernize our data collection and storage.
Starting in July 2019, the County is transitioning to a GIS-based system that will use ESRI’s Survey 123 package to modernize its information collection. Survey 123 is a form-centric data collection app that is built on ArcGIS, so while it will not only store much of what the County previously collected on paper, it can also geolocate projects across the County. Through the Survey 123 app, the County will be able to store project information at intake including acreage, location, fees, and more. Then as plans are reviewed, review comments, status, and approval letters are also connected through the app. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, technicians using iPads can conduct inspections, make notes, take photos, and generate an inspection form which will then be automatically emailed to the project contacts. Plan files will also be loaded onto the iPads meaning technicians will not need to pull out bulky plan sets when conducting inspections. Not only will this limit the amount of paper associated with projects, but it will create a repository for info that can be accessed in both the office and the field.
In the office, staff can use a dashboard to view projects on a map, generate reports, and add further data to the Survey123 forms if necessary. When using the map, projects will be represented differently depending on their status, with different colored dots representing projects under a Notice of Violation, projects out of compliance, compliant projects, new projects awaiting their first inspection, pending projects, and complaints. Using the map, technicians can map their daily inspection routes to make better use of their time in the field. Administratively, managers can use the dashboard to generate reports on fees collected, inspections, violations, and other enforcement actions which will provide the kind of data to align with the County’s Managing for Results business model.
This program is only in its infancy, but Durham County is excited to incorporate new technology into its program. There will be a period of trial and error, but ultimately this new system should not only improve the programs efficiency but make it more sustainable as well.