How the New Systemwide Stormwater ECA Regulations Impact Municipalities
Understanding the new Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI-ECA) process governed by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks will help municipalities be proactive, identify risks, and set up programs to manage costs, and optimize their systems.
In this article, we aim to draw awareness to the new regulations. We list five key takeaways from the CLI-ECA that showcase how important it is to monitor the performance of stormwater systems and how these regulations could specifically impact your municipality.
1. Assessment Studies Are Vital to Optimizing Service Levels, O&M, and Capital Planning
Municipalities can use master planning, system-wide modelling, asset condition and assessment, and smaller watershed or subwatershed studies to get a more comprehensive understanding of asset performance.
These studies provide detailed information about system performance and identify capacity constraints. Many types of studies can give municipalities an understanding of the resources needed to establish operation and maintenance programs for the near future and plan for system upgrades based on growth needs and impacts of changing climate.
Planning studies should also consider stakeholder feedback from conservation authorities and public utilities and consult with the general public so that local residents have a say in the future of stormwater infrastructure in their community. This allows stakeholders to be involved in the planning, design, and implementation process and is crucial for ultimate project success.
2. Inspection and Monitoring Are Key Tools in Asset Operation and Maintenance
Condition assessments—systematic examinations of your assets that will flag areas of concern—can help municipalities determine if their stormwater assets are performing at an acceptable level. Some examples of condition assessments include:
- Zoom Camera and CCTV Inspection of Culverts and Pipes
- Maintenance Hole Condition Inspections Using 360-Degree Cameras
- SWM Facility Inspections
- Storm Pond Sediment Surveys
- Outfall Surveys And Condition Inspections
- LID Facility Condition Inspections
Stormwater system inspections and monitoring are vital as these activities help municipalities understand their assets and plan for future needs. These needs may include stormwater system expansion and optimization to accommodate increases in population and resulting alterations in landuse and/or to mitigate the impacts of significant storm events. Inspection and monitoring assets also help prioritize short-term maintenance needs, where high severity fixes can be completed immediately and minor issues are caught before they have the chance to develop into something much more severe.
3. Rainfall Data Collection Is Important to Understand System Performance and Analyze Flooding Issues
Rainfall monitoring and flood analysis is critical to assessing the performance of your stormwater infrastructure. According to the province:
“The occurrence of extreme precipitation events in general is increasing. The frequency and
intensity of these extreme events are changing, and infrastructure of all kinds is becoming
subject to conditions for which it was not designed. This includes stormwater and
wastewater infrastructure which may become overwhelmed, impacting water quality,
water quantity and the ecosystem (MOECC, 2016).”
Accurate monitoring of rainfall is a key component of the CLI-ECA regulations, as inspections of assets may be required after significant flooding events, while wet weather sampling needs to be considered for SWM facilities. A network of rain gauges and utilizing radar data to understand system response and performance are increasingly important, especially if localized flooding issues occur.
4. Both Water Quantity and Water Quality Are Important to Monitor and Understand
When managing stormwater systems, it is necessary to assess both the quantity and the quality of the water in order to understand how to properly maintain these assets.
There are many assessment studies that define the criteria for stormwater quantity control for new developments. Where these studies are not available, stormwater quantity is ideally controlled to meet pre-development conditions on the property to control runoff from the 90th percentile storm event. However, water quality parameters should also be carefully considered. Characterizing the quality of the stormwater through monitoring suspended solids, nutrients, bacteria, water temperature, etc. and the potential impact on the natural environment should be taken into consideration.
Innovations in monitoring/sampling technologies and incorporation of weather forecast data can increase the effectiveness for sampling infrastructure such as stormwater management ponds. Manual grab sampling and using state-of-the-art autosamplers may be necessary for some projects but can require significant resource investments that may not be necessary for many SWMF monitoring applications. In these cases, custom sampling plans and innovative technology can be employed.
5. Green Infrastructure Can Be an Effective Stormwater Management Strategy
Lastly, areas that are undergoing new development have stricter stormwater management criteria than older urbanized areas. To provide additional stormwater quantity and quality controls, LID measures can be implemented in areas where runoff is controlled or uncontrolled.
These areas present unique opportunities to implement innovative LID measures in an attempt to increase quality and quantity control, as well as promote infiltration and groundwater recharge. LIDs can be integrated into community features and improve the aesthetics of the overall communities they are in.
When the opportunity exists, it is important to explore the idea of green infrastructure and LIDs for water quantity and quality control. The success of green infrastructure and LID measures are highly dependent on the availability of sufficient space and consideration for this factor, among others, is needed in feasibility assessments and the design of LID features.
Contact Civica for Help Managing the CLI-ECA Stormwater Regulations Demands
Civica is a leader in water management solutions. Our team has taken the time to thoroughly understand the new regulations and provide you with environmental compliance assistance.
Click here for more information about the Consolidated Linear Infrastructure Environmental Compliance Approval (CLI-ECA) and what the regulations mean for your municipality. Or contact us today for a free consultation.
Learn More At:
Key Insights Into The New Systemwide Sanitary ECA Regulations
Environmental Compliance Approval Regulations: Universal Key Takeaways
Key Insights Into The New Systemwide Stormwater ECA Regulations