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2NFORM Trash Rapid Assessment Methodology

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The 2NFORM Trash Rapid Assessment Methodology (Trash RAM; www.trashram.com) is a decision support tool to simplify planning, inspections, and reporting to help municipalities comply with State Water Board requirements per Trash Amendments to the California Ocean Plan. It was created to build upon the existing trash research across the state, leverage mobile data collection and other readily available technology, and advance the spatial analytics of trash data to provide insight and inform better decisions.

Project Description

2NFORM Trash Module

With the goal of eliminating urban trash delivery to local waterways over the next decade, the 2NFORM Trash Module provides a means to track municipal progress as acres of trash priority areas effectively treated by structural or non-structural controls. It includes standardized field protocols and desktop analytics that allow city staff to inventory full trash capture systems (FCS), document maintenance needs, and quantify the effectiveness of structural and non-structural trash controls. Integration with the 2NFORM stormwater suite (www.2nform.com) allows city staff to assess potential trash impacts and solutions within the context of stormwater infrastructure, urban drainages, and hydrologic connectivity to receiving waters. At the click of a button, municipal staff grant Regional Water Boards read-only access, greatly reducing the time required to compile and produce annual reports.

Field methods to estimate trash accumulation on streets employ the On-Land Visual Trash Assessment (OVTA) method developed in the San Francisco Bay Area by EOA, Inc., in coordination with Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA). Implementation of this visual observation protocol in the 2NFORM Trash Module diverges from other approaches in terms of recommended sampling design, use of mobile data collection apps, comprehensive geospatial data management, and spatial data analytics. Since trash accumulation in urban areas is often highly variable over space and time, sampling designs should take this variability into account. Integrated mobile apps for data collection can be used either walking or by a passenger in a vehicle to achieve greater coverage across a city and ensure that spatial patterns of trash accumulation are adequately captured. The more trash condition varies over time, the less sure we are that an observed condition at a particular time is representative of overall trash conditions. The Trash Module uses Bayesian statistical algorithms to translate spatially distributed observed trash condition variance and the number of observations into mapped summaries of trash free locations and trash hot spots with associated uncertainty estimates. These outputs can help municipalities iteratively focus trash control strategies where they are most needed, reduce trash assessment frequency when appropriate, and communicate where trash control strategies have been effective.

Within the Trash Module, users delineate areas draining to full trash capture systems (FCS) and upload design plans and other FCS specific documentation. Rapid FCS field assessments allow users to document the functional condition of each FCS. Annual progress is a simple spatial accounting of areas observed via OVTA assessments to be trash free or treated by a downstream functional FCS. Full integration with ArcGIS Online supports data openness and accessibility, and users can view, share, or download their data at any time along with outputs that indicate which areas of priority land uses show persistent trash issues, are trash free, or served by FCSs.

More than 30 cities are currently using the 2NFORM Trash Module to simplify compliance with the Trash Amendments. The data collected will help us learn more about how trash patterns change over time, what management actions are effective where, and help build our collective understanding of cost-effective strategies to eliminate trash delivery local waterways.

Mobile apps linked to the cloud provide users with simple and efficient trash data capture.

Desktop display of OVTA assessment data display is fully integrated with stormwater infrastructure data, lands use, structural BMP locations, and receiving water drainages.

Users delineate and verify parcel and road areas draining to full trash capture systems. The platform quantifies and tracks the total drainage area and trash priority area treated by each FCS.