State departments of transportation (state DOTs) are faced with increasing stormwater treatment demands, with tightening treatment criteria and additional pollutant targets. To meet these requirements, DOTs need ready access to reliable information about stormwater treatment Best Management Practices (BMPs) in order to choose effective solutions appropriate for project specific conditions. The International Stormwater Best Management Practice Database (BMPDB) contains information about numerous BMPs. However, the structure of the BMPDB does not make it simple to retrieve highway specific BMP information, and lacks some data elements of particular interest to DOTs.
NCHRP Project 25-25(92) Transferability of Post-Construction Stormwater Quality BMP Effectiveness Studies concluded that while BMP effectiveness data is generally transferable, BMP performance monitoring studies tend to be concentrated in certain parts of the nation due to varying regulatory requirements, access to funding and other factors. The addition of more DOT specific data from a broader geographic spectrum would make studies of effectiveness and contributing factors better and more robust. Likewise, the consolidation of DOT BMP data and analysis would give stormwater designers easy access to the information needed for good decision-making. Therefore measures to encourage data submittal and to facilitate the storage and transfer of the data are needed. The project panel recommended that the BMPDB be adopted as the data clearinghouse for DOT BMP studies and that a customized “DOT Portal” be developed to facilitate easier access to DOT-specific BMP information. To quote from the 25-25(92) Final Report:
A review of various available data clearinghouses as part of this effort led to the conclusion that the BMPDB was the most comprehensive national-scale, actively maintained database of BMP performance study information currently available and it already includes a significant number of highway BMP datasets. The summary of BMP effectiveness standardization considerations (Section 4), as well as the long-term track record of maintenance and enhancement of the database led to the recommendation that the BMPDB be adopted as the data clearinghouse for DOT BMP studies and that a customized “DOT Portal” be developed to facilitate easier access to DOT-specific BMP information. In addition, Section 4 also identified additional transportation-specific data fields and analysis tools that would be useful for DOTs (and in some cases others as well).
Minor modifications to the BMPDB would establish data fields for information of importance to DOTs that are not currently collected. Section 5 of the 25-25 (92) report includes a potential scope of work to create a DOT Portal and modify the BMPDB to incorporate the desired data fields, and an analysis of the resources needed to complete those tasks. The 25-25(92) Project Panel concurred with the conclusions of the project report and recommended requesting one time funding for implementation through the NCHRP. Once the upgrade is completed operational costs would be covered by the BMPDB’s annual budget.
The data within the BMPDB will allow for analysis of the effects of variables such as climate and highway design features on BMP effectiveness and suitability. Examples of activities where the upgraded BMPDB would increase efficiency include updating stormwater manuals’ BMP selection and installation guidance, researching BMPs that address specific pollutants or fit local conditions, improving the accuracy of models such as SELDM that calculate the effect of implementing various BMPs, and supporting discussions about permit conditions and strategies with regulatory agencies. A more robust highway data set in the BMPDB may reduce regulatory requirements for BMP monitoring by individual state DOTs while directing studies towards areas with the greatest need. The DOT Portal and outreach efforts will increase the flow of studies to the BMPDB, keeping it current and continually increasing the value of the data and analyses for DOTs.
The objective is to enhance the BMPDB to make it an efficient and effective source for stormwater BMP data that is useful for DOTs. Targeted outreach will increase awareness of the BMPDB, encouraging both its use and additional BMP study data set submittal by DOTs. When the project is completed, the BMPDB will have a customized Data Portal designed specifically to address DOT needs, added data tables as described in the 25-25(92) report, and protocols for DOT focused BMP analysis reports. With access to the information in the database DOTs will be able to evaluate various BMPs as potential solutions for their specific stormwater management needs. A full description of the proposed scope of work and budget is found in the final report for 25-25 Task 92, Chapter 5.