Feedback and Fishbones Solve Fort Worth Drainage Review Concerns

Katie Hogan

Earlier this year, Kelly Dillard, Freese and Nichols Stormwater Group Manager, and Erika Nordstrom, Water Resources Design Engineer, alongside Greg Simmons, City of Fort Worth Stormwater Division, presented “We Hear You! The City of Fort Worth Stormwater Division Addresses Development Review Concerns,” a presentation discussing the joint effort between the City and the development community in improving the drainage review process at the City of Fort Worth.

In 2006, the City of Fort Worth adopted the iSWM Criteria Manual for Site Development and Construction as the drainage standard for all design and construction located within the City. On the heels of adopting the new drainage criteria, development slowed with the 2007 downturn in the economy. As the economy began to recover in 2009, development began to increase. With the greater thoroughness of reviews under the iSWM criteria in combination with greater development, the City of Fort Worth Stormwater Division began receiving a large number of complaints regarding the drainage reviews occurring at the City. Complaints became increasingly more frequent in the years that followed. In 2013, the City of Fort Worth Stormwater Division collaborated with Freese and Nichols to identify the specific problems and recommendations to improve the drainage review process.

A multi-faceted approach was used to gather information internally and externally of the City, with a key component being the feedback acquired from the development community. The data obtained through numerous interviews was analyzed using analytical problem solving techniques, including fishbone diagrams (example at right) and “Pareto charts.” This analysis clearly identified the root causes of the problems occurring in the drainage review process and recommended action items needed, including organizational changes, implementation of a tracking database, review of completion timeframes, improvement of the development review process and revisions to the technical manual.

The group spoke at the Texas Floodplain Management Association Conference, sharing about the complex methods for collecting and analyzing the data and the success of the implemented recommendations. For more information about this presentation, contact Erika Nordstrom