Industrial sites frequently require routine environmental reporting. The reports’ purpose vary and can include environmental regulatory compliance, permit requirements, or assessments of remedial actions. Many of these reports contain results for ground water and/or surface water sampling for a variety of chemical constituents or water quality parameters, groundwater elevations in monitoring or recovery wells, or air quality measurements. The amount and complexity of reporting depends on the number of chemicals and parameters being measured, the sampling frequency, and the number of monitoring locations.
Common Challenges of Manual Reporting
If data is not being managed in a database, the task of compiling and reporting data can be daunting. Some of the common challenges include:
• Finding all the correct data for the current report.
• Assembling the data without copy and paste errors or other data quality issues.
• Accurately screening values against regulatory limits or permit requirement.
• Generating statistics.
• Maintaining consistent report formats and layouts.
Manually generating data summary tables can require many man-hours. Errors, missing data, or other data quality issues can also become apparent during the manual compilation process. When data values need to be compared to a standard or other metric, additional errors can be introduced. Calculating statistics for the data set or any other type of data manipulation can be challenging using spreadsheets and/or other software tools.
Even when a database is used and data integrity issues are minimized, manually querying the database to generate reports and tables can still require time. Report deadlines must also be tracked. How can reporting be performed more efficiently?
The Solution: Automated Reports
To ensure that reports are generated in a timely manner with the proper data, an automated workflow for reports can be developed. The EQuIS™ environmental database management system provides users with an easy way to automate reports.
Report workflow automation is a two-step process. The first step requires creation and customization of reports for site-specific purposes. Once the reports’ structure and formats have been completed, the reports can be automated for a specific trigger or schedule. The reports can be scheduled to run on a specific date or a set frequency (e.g., weekly, monthly, quarterly). Reports can also be triggered by addition of new data to the database. And reports can be triggered by “hits”, or exceedences of thresholds. These reports can then be available for viewing or automatically emailed to a specified distribution list.
EQuIS has many reports that can be automated. The following are a few examples:
Analytical Statistics Report – Configuring this report for selected data sets computes various statistical functions, such as minimum, maximum, mean, median, sum, standard deviation, variance, skewness, Mann-Kendall S, Sen slope, and various confidence and percentile values. This report can be generated monthly or quarterly and sent to the project manager for a remediation project’s review.
Action Level Exceedance Report – This report compares analytical results to permit limits. The report can be triggered when new data are added to EQuIS and then can be automatically sent to the environmental managers. The managers are immediately aware of any exceedances of permit limits.
Water Levels Report – This report can be triggered and automatically forwarded to the appropriate parties when certain criteria are met, such as oil being detected in a well or when the water level for a set of monitoring wells drops below a specified value.
Benefits of Reporting Automated Workflow
Automated reporting from EQuIS provides environmental managers with the following benefits:
• Improved data accuracy and quality control,
• Improved reporting efficiencies,
• Quicker response time to changes in site conditions,
• Meeting regulatory deadlines and requirements more easily
• Significantly reduced costs, and
• Streamlined operations.