Fort Hood Storm System Mapping: Turning Compliance into Productivity
The staff at Fort Hood take great pride in providing an environment to train U.S. troops to protect our country and our interests around the world. While serving this important mission, Fort Hood is required to comply with Clean Water Act requirements to protect water quality from pollution in urban storm water runoff. Like many cities throughout Texas and the U.S., Fort Hood is an operator of a Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and is in the midst of implementing a storm water management program in the urbanized areas of the installation.
Utilization of Storm Sewer System Mapping
Originally constructed in 1942 to house and train approximately 38,000 troops and provide tank destroyer training, Fort Hood currently covers 340 square miles, and until recently, did not have a reliable map of its own storm system. Fort Hood’s Water Program Manager, Riki Young, identified the value a water quality map would provide for storm system planning and maintenance, in addition to regulatory compliance.
Mr. Young recognized that field reconnaissance was necessary to properly map the system due to the lack of reliable and accessible maps. Mr. Young retained FNI to work with his staff and other departmental personnel to answer the question:
While personnel are already in the field identifying the location of the storm system, what else can we collect to help you improve the installation?
Maintenance personnel are keenly interested in obtaining and maintaing a better inventory of their storm sewer system assets and conditions. Master planning staff are interested in having a better handle on the capacity of the system to handle current development, as well as planned future expansions of the installation.
Keeping this in mind, FNI developed an approach to collect the following additional information while conducting the field assessment:
- Structure type and material
- Structure dimensions
- Structure condition
- Survey-grade coordinates of system features
- Dry weather discharge observations
Field personnel were equipped with a Trimble R8 GNSS VRS Rover to collect survey-grade location of each structure. Pictures were collected with a GPS-enabled camera to document the current condition of each structure. A field-ready database was developed to collect a variety of characteristic data, including size, material, affiliated structures (i.e., wingwalls, aprons, etc. for culverts), and dry weather discharge observations.
Data for nearly 20,000 features is being compiled into a user-focused GIS database. When complete, water quality staff will have drainage infrastructure identified for each regulated stormwater outfall to properly track down illicit discharges. Maintenance staff will have a complete inventory of storm system assets to plan and prioritize cleanouts, repairs, and replacements of structures. Planning staff will have system data to allow for stormwater modeling of discharge capacities of existing and proposed developments to help identify necessary capital improvements.
Key Benefit: Cost Reduction
Coordinating the mapping efforts to address these needs has already reduced Fort Hood’s infrastructure inventory collection costs and will make it easier to allocate operating and planning resources. Having a comprehensive system map will help to improve water quality protection. This allows staff to focus more resources on their core mission of supporting those who protect us.