Stormwater management already requires several pokers in the metaphorical flame all while striving to comply with changing regulations, lack of funding and increasing responsibilities. Why not make the load simpler? The right software can reduce the number of hours spent meeting requirements while also easing headaches when it comes to relaying important data, such as in inspection reports. MS4web can fill this role, making stormwater inspections a breeze — but that is only the tip of the iceberg.
“What really sets MS4web apart as a platform is it allows for the documentation of compliance activities across every Minimum Control Measure,” Ty Garmon, national sales manager, CBI Systems Ltd., said. “Everything is stored in one location for compliance purposes. Inspections are just the tip of the iceberg and underneath it is all the other data.”
MS4web puts cities in the driver’s seat no matter what phase they are, though Phase II MS4s have been its core clients. Municipalities are drawn by its versatility and its time-saving elements, with one Phase II MS4 client out of Iowa remarking, “The ability to customize inspection forms and add any component from your own individual or general permit is truly remarkable. I’ve cut down my administration time for tracking components by many hours.”
MS4web gives a city’s stormwater team access to archived data, which can be exported as an Excel document. Various PDF reports are also available, whether a construction site summary report, outfall summary report, asset compliance report, contractor report, Best Management Practice activity summary report or inspection summary report. It also features a GIS map service and calendar, both of which help stormwater teams track inspections and all due dates throughout their stormwater management program.
“If you ever get audited, it’s a great tool. You can just open the application, and click-a-palooza your way through the data that shows the auditor you’re on the ball,” Garmon said, noting how MS4web’s tracking of best practices will show the customer is doing all they can to comply. “The auditor will get a warm fuzzy feeling.”
This software, paired with topnotch support and education, is on another level compared to similar products.
The difference between good and bad software
Nothing is worse than finding a shiny object and spending all that effort to get it and then that shiny object, or in this case a software application, is not as cool as it looked because it doesn’t have any support,” Garmon said. “We pride ourselves in taking it from something ‘shiny and cool’ to something that is useful in the field.”
For one thing, everyone is given access to a free trial of MS4web, which is very flexible to the needs of each customer. Unlike other software trials, MS4web’s is customized to the client’s account from day one complete with its city logo. Whether using the trial app or the paid version, there is also free chat help, no matter what the question
“About 99.9% of the time it’s just a training or workflow question,” Garmon said of the chat feature’s use. “Inside the app, we also have training videos clients can watch.”
A full search is available with these videos so clients can find the ones relevant to their situation. Keyword searches not only pull up relevant videos but are also timestamped and transcribed where the words are spoken in the video. Additionally, there is an unlimited number of one-on-one training sessions and webinars, all geared to ensure MS4web rollouts are successful along with ongoing support year to year, through city personnel changes and continued use of the software.
Promoting further education
Education is key. For this reason, a partnership has been formed with StormwaterONE in Connecticut to provide clients with a private branded stormwater university online. Each customer gets their very own portal page that opens the way to several courses all aimed at improving stormwater management programs.
This program is open to any city employee — if there is at least one active MS4web license — who needs to further their education and working knowledge within the stormwater industry.
“We are providing to cities a free minimum of 20 course hours as a payback to them,” Garmon noted. “Cities can have anyone complete these courses who needs to, and there are also free trainings and discounted classes.”
MS4web then tracks all of the courses’ transcripts to show that the agency is remaining in compliance with education requirements. In addition to tracking, users enjoy access to 50 state libraries of resources and live support, both of which are free, through the StormwaterONE program.
“MS4web is your friend to stay in compliance,” Garmon said, adding for time-strapped departments, it has another benefit: “It maximizes the time you do have.”
John Trujillo, stormwater coordinator for the city of Newark, Ohio, shared his own experience with the software in a testimonial, “MS4web is a product we’ve used for several years. We do our construction site inspections and annual report with MS4web. It has helped us through an audit with the EPA. MS4web drastically reduced the amount of time our audit took. I stand behind MS4web because it’s a product that has helped us out tremendously.”
Since 2001, MS4web has been used by municipalities across the country and in every Environmental Protection Agency region. Based in Beaumont, Texas, CBI Systems Ltd. is a subsidiary of Houston-based LJA Engineering. For more information, visit MS4web.com.