The Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority was established by the New Mexico Legislature to build and maintain flood control structures that help alleviate flooding and protect life and property.www.amafca.org
If it’s sunny and dry and we see a peak in turbidity or pH, we know we should go look. There might be an illicit discharge. We get better data, better reports, and have a better handle on what’s happening in the river.
Stormwater Quality Program Engineer
By Helen Taylor
AMAFCA – Stormwater Management Upgrade Positions Agency as Regional Leader
A decision by the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Agency (AMAFCA) to upgrade to In-Situ’s continuous-monitoring solution has led to more effective and efficient management of stormwater discharge and secured the agency’s leading role in efforts to protect the Middle Rio Grande Valley (MRG) watershed.
As in many regions, water quality in the Middle Rio Grande Valley is attributable to both upstream sources and local discharges, so when the EPA chose the area as one of three Watershed-Based Permit projects, it made sense to assess both individual and cooperative requirements in the areas of monitoring, education and outreach to help identify and address all pollutant sources.
As the lead permittee, AMAFCA worked collaboratively to develop and implement a stormwater monitoring program (SWMP), which included a thorough evaluation of monitoring techniques. Historically, limited data provided by grab sampling made it difficult to determine whether BMPs supported EPA water-quality standards. So AMAFCA initially deployed In-Situ TROLL 9500 Multiparameter Instruments at five key sites along the MRG, to continuously collect data on pH, ORP, DO, temperature, turbidity and depth.
The units had internal batteries and onboard data logging, but battery life became an issue, and lack of real-time visibility to sensor status prompted AMAFCA Stormwater Quality Program Engineer Patrick Chavez to look for an alternative.
In support of its SWMP, the agency leveraged the benefits of collective funding and a reduction in the number of monitoring sites required for compliance in order to increase the quantity, quality and availability of data.
The team upgraded to In-Situ’s Aqua TROLL 600 Multiparameter Sonde and Tube Telemetry System. The Aqua TROLL 600 features extended battery life, stable sensor design and complete antifouling system, making it ideal for long-term deployment. The telemetry system includes a lithium-ion battery that provides supplemental power for both the TROLL 9500 and the Aqua TROLL 600. And because the tubes are non-vented, the agency eliminated the risk of flooding, which had been problematic with the earlier versions.
Chavez also implemented In-Situ’s HydroVu data management software, which provides network-wide visibility 24/7.
“Every morning I sit down with a cup of coffee, open HydroVu and have a little moment with the sondes to see what’s happening over a 30-square-mile reach,” says Chavez.
As Chavez updates each monitoring site to the Aqua TROLL 600 and Tube Telemetry solution, he’s seeing a reduction in the time required to manage each location and a resulting return on investment that helps fund further growth of the program.
AMAFCA’s progressive approach has positioned the agency as a regional leader. Other agencies regularly reach out to them for data, and as Chavez’s team gains experience with the new technologies, they’re able to continuously improve the system and share what they’ve learned with smaller communities.