Facilities with point source output need reliable data for environmental compliance monitoring. However, many of these facilities use manual reporting methods that can make the reporting process daunting for data managers. A fully compiled report includes all facility/permit information, lab results, water quality parameters, and groundwater elevations. Depending on how the environmental data are stored and analyzed, the reporting process for these facilities can be grueling, and critical decision making may not occur in a timely manner. Reporting without consistent formats and layouts, missing/incorrect data, data quality issues, and managing all sources of data while correctly screening values against permitting requirements are challenges frequently encountered with manual data reporting.
The Environmental Quality Information System (EQuIS™) environmental database management software improves the reliability and access to data and provides users with a simplified way to automate reports. Automated reporting in EQuIS addresses many of the challenges of manual reporting. Reports that could take weeks to generate manually can be available to the project manager almost immediately after data are uploaded. Report automation in EQuIS is a multi-step process involving the creation and customization of reports related to the facility information, including all permit information. After the format and structure information have been entered, the automation of reports can begin. The reports can be based on sampling schedule, triggers for exceedances/threshold limits, and other facility-specific information. Once the reports are available, they are easily viewed in EQuIS or automatically emailed to a specified distribution list. EQuIS has numerous reports that can be automated to fit the reporting requirements of the facility. A few selected reports are detailed below.
Analytical Results II Report – This is the primary report for analytical data in EQuIS and can be triggered automatically when new datasets are uploaded to EQuIS. The report is used to view sample and field parameters by location and can include a wide range of report parameters set by the data manager.
Figure 1. Analytical Results II Report
Analytical Statistics Report – Configuring this report for selected datasets computes various statistical functions, such as minimum, maximum, mean, median, sum, standard deviation, variance, skewness, Mann-Kendall S, Sen slope, and various confidence and percentile values. This report can be generated monthly or quarterly and sent to the project manager for a remediation project’s review.
Figure 2: Analytical Statistics Report
Action Level Exceedance Report – This report compares analytical results to permit limits. The report can be triggered when new data are uploaded to EQuIS and then can be automatically sent to the environmental managers. The managers are immediately notified of any exceedances of permit limits for their facility.
Figure 3: Action Level Exceedance Report
Water Levels Report – This report can be triggered and automatically forwarded to the appropriate parties when certain trigger criteria are met, such as oil being detected in a well or when the water level for a set of monitoring wells drops below a specified value.
Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) – This report compiles complex datasets into easy-to-understand views with data visualizations to compare data against permit requirements. Additional automated reports can be included in the discharge monitoring report (e.g., Action Level Exceedances, Completeness Report) so the output of data matches the facility requirements for reporting.
Figure 5: Discharge Monitoring Report
The following example scenarios illustrate the value of automated reporting.
A large-scale energy substation facility in the Northwest United States samples their wastewater treatment system daily for chemical constituents under their National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. After a sampling event, the project manager received notification from the EQuIS software that new data were available from their data provider. An unusually high level of mercury was present in a single sample, which triggered an Action Level Exceedance report to be compiled and sent to the project manager for further review. The report assisted the project manager in quickly identifying where the treatment system was failing. In conjunction with onsite action, the lab was notified to activate the Toxic Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP) to identify additional data points for the non-compliant sample. The project manager was able to avoid permit non-compliance and fines from the regulatory agency through the utilization of the Action Level Exceedance report.
At a military installation, a fire retardant called Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) was applied to fight a fire that started in the training grounds of the base. After the military fire response team sprayed the fire with AFFF, the chemicals in the foam leached into surface water and ground water in the area. The ground water is a drinking water source for the base and surrounding communities. The firefighting foam (AFFF) contained man-made chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS. These chemicals do not breakdown in the environment and can pose human health risks depending on exposure length. The surface water had a layer of foam, and a consulting firm was contracted to assess the environmental impact to both the surface water and ground water. The consulting firm developed a multi-phase sampling plan that included both soil and water sampling. The project uses the Analytical Results II Report in EQuIS to automatically trigger a notification when new data is available. The project is on-going, and the Analytical Statistics Report will be used to identify trends in the data over time.
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