Tuesday, April 2, 2013

MN Stormwater Manual now available in Wiki format

St. Paul, Minn. -- Cities and developers that need to control urban stormwater to prevent pollution of lakes and streams have a new tool available as of today, when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency launches a wiki version of the Minnesota Stormwater Manual.

The previous manual - at 850 pages and 25 megabytes online - offered a wealth of information, but was cumbersome to use. Thanks to Clean Water Legacy Act funding and a design team from public agencies and private firms, the manual is now available in a web-based format that can be rapidly updated with new developments.

The newly reformatted manual, which is built with the same software as Wikipedia, allows users to collaborate with each other and quickly locate the most recent stormwater information, offering a powerful tool for those who need to comply with stormwater regulations.

"There is a lot to like about the wiki platform, including powerful search capability and mobile phone accessibility," said Mike Trojan of the MPCA's municipal stormwater program. "But perhaps the most important feature is that we can update the manual on the fly. We anticipate the size of the manual will increase significantly as the state moves toward new performance goals for minimal impact designs in developing properties."

The updates are expected to double the size of the manual over the next year, so now was the right time to move to a wiki format.

"There is a great deal of stormwater research being conducted and it's critical to incorporate the latest information on topics such as BMP design, construction, maintenance, and pollutant removal," Trojan noted. "The wiki provides us with a mechanism to incorporate new information as it becomes available." Unlike typical wikis found on the Internet, the MPCA will control edits to the online Minnesota Stormwater Manual.

The new wiki manual can be accessed by visiting www.pca.state.mn.us and searching for "Minnesota Stormwater Manual."