Pickerington Times-Sun

Township to buy program to track storm water system


A web-based storm water monitoring program that Texas company CBI provides to government entities has been approved for purchase by Violet Township in order to more efficiently track its storm water drainage system.

Violet Township Administrator Bill Yaple said the township trustees voted 3-0 to approve spending close to $8,000 for both the software and training to assist the township with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency 'Phase II' compliance mandates which regulate storm water permits and stream pollution control.

Yaple said the Fairfield County Soil and Water District has categorized all of the township's streams and outfalls already on the Geographic Information System.

With the new software, the township can now load its own data into the GIS.

"We can put in the layer of sanitary sewers, we can put in the layer of waterlines that (Fairfield) County has in the township so if we have a problem we can look at other data to see what is broke," Yaple said.

He said the software will also allow Township Engineer Greg Butcher to scan and load Fairfield County's platted storm drawings of township subdivisions, thus making it easier to repair broken water lines.

He said such a function will be useful identifying situations such as the sewer line break in the Glenshire subdivision in November 2010.

The subdivision had two pipe failures, and a damaged sewer pipe caused a sinkhole.

"In Glenshire, a storm pipe broke, it was collapsing so we had to fix it," Yaple said.

"It was in the early (built) part of the subdivision," he said.

"The kind of work we do on road ditches, where we do pipe work, we can also track that kind of information in this (software) program."

Yaple said the Fairfield County Soil and Water District wants to track all of the county's storm catch basins and manholes.

The CBI software would track that information in addition to the water and sanitary lines already on the GIS. He touted the software's efficiency and accessibility.

"It begins to gather and put into place all the data we need for our storm water system," Yaple said.

"Every year we'll have a running total of what we did," he said.

"Every repair and manhole, that would go into the program. The nice thing about it is you can use a tablet or laptop to do it."

Violet Township inked a five-year contract with the company and will have to pay a $1,200 yearly subscription fee.

Yaple said "it will help us comply with EPA Phase II storm water requirements were saddled with."

He said Violet Township doesn't collect storm water fees, thus the EPA requirements operate as the equivalent of an unfunded mandate. The township still has to pay out-of-pocket for storm water permit compliance activities.

"Violet Township is mandated by the EPA to be Phase II compliant," Yaple said.

"We use several Fairfield County agencies to do that because we have no income from storm water fees.

"(Pickerington) has storm water fees that every resident pays," he said. "That's our problem, not the EPA's problem."