GIS and Storm-Water Management

by Mark Pearson, GIS Supervisor; Water & Wastewater Utility, Engrg. & Planning Div., Anchorage, AK,
Scott Wheaton, Sr. Water Quality Spec.; Dept. of Public Works, Anchorage, AK,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1993, Vol. 63, Issue 9, Pg. 72-73

Document Type: Feature article


Developing and implementing a municipal storm-water management program under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) presents a textbook example of how the abilities of a geographic information system (GIS) can be put to use. By combining mapped, graphic information with tabular databases, a GIS is able to coherently summarize the large volumes of spatial and attribute information required for program managers to assess the success of a storm-water management program and respond to new information about storm-water quality. With the help of HDR Engineering, Inc., Omaha, Neb., the Anchorage Department of Public Works set up a GIS to handle the departments application for an NPDES storm-water discharge permit. We found that despite early problems with missing or inaccurate data in the city's database, that the system was economical to set-up and use. The benefits of creating a GIS can even extend to smaller towns that lack an existing computer system. In our case, we found that using a GIS saved the department about one year and $100,000 during the NPDES permit application process.

Subject Headings: Information management | Geographic information systems | Stormwater management | Water discharge | Information systems | Databases | Spatial data | Permits | Nebraska | United States

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