Double Whammy: MS4 NPDES Permits

by Woolpert

Local governments and utilities have recognized the benefits of using asset/maintenance management systems, like Woolpert’s Infrastructure Optimization tool, to manage their assets and software and maximize their reduced operation and management budgets.

However, communities and other agencies tasked with implementing the Municipal Separate Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits are facing a double whammy: maintaining their storm drainage system and compiling the necessary information to demonstrate compliance with their permit requirements. Previously, these permit activities were very general and there was more flexibility; documentation was more in the form of a narrative. Now, the U.S. EPA and state water quality agencies want very specific, quantitative documentation of the activities performed:

  • number of miles and locations of streets swept
  • number and location of inlets and catch basins cleaned
  • pounds of materials removed, etc.

To meet these new requirements, it not only requires intense housekeeping activities by municipalities, it also requires a more robust, detailed system to track these activities. With a detailed asset and maintenance management system in place, municipalities can track activities and determine where they are in the permitting process.

Seeing it firsthand, I can attest to the success of a system that logs and tracks these activities in greater detail AND provides the means to perform analysis and immediately pull that information from reports.


You can take the necessary steps to meet your permit requirements (which as we all know are unfunded) and you can do it more efficiently (which means you save money that you likely don’t have to begin with).

At a time when we are all learning to do more with less, we are well aware of the critical nature of efficiency. A GIS-centric management system such as Azteca Cityworks, combined with an infrastructure optimization tool to extend the power of that management system, ultimately provides a medium for not only managing the assets but also for managing and tracking the data and then analyzing the data to make the most informed decision on how to meet your MS4 requirements.

The real power comes from combining these two tools. Where Cityworks tracks assets, the infrastructure optimization tool can then analyze the information, yielding a true asset management program.

Information is power. And when that power is put to use, more efficient and effective delivery of services results in a more efficient use of a community’s resources.