A (Work) Day in the Life

Alarm clock RINGING

“Woke up! Fell out of bed! Dragged a comb across my head. Found my way downstairs and drank a cup and looking up I noticed I was late. Found my coat and grabbed my hat. Made the bus in seconds flat.”

Although it would be cool this blog will not be about the song “A Day in the Life” from The Beatles acclaimed 1967 release Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Instead, this blog will be the next in a series of blog posts recounting what we, at Cuyahoga Soil & Water. Each do, in general, from day to day.

So as the Deputy Director of Stormwater & Technical Services; here it goes…

The part of my job that I like the best is being able to illuminate the secrets of stormwater management for those who may not be aware of its importance. This generally takes the form of educational focused conversations. The fun yet challenging part is knowing who the audience is and how much time you have is available to get the point across. The skill in being able to effectively address any audience and for whatever duration comes from being thoroughly saturated in the industry principles. This is accomplished through simply time set aside to read a relevant publication, chatting about current topics with fellow staff members, or simply having a thought mill around in the background of my brain while I’m focusing on other tasks. Being a trusted source for information related to stormwater management means being continuously up to date.

So, while stormwater management’s greatest hits are always playing in the background, I do have other duties to attend to.

Performing stormwater pollution prevention plan (SPW3 reviews is a key component of my job). In this capacity I examine the engineering drawings of proposed development taking place in our partner communities. The review evaluates whether the development plans are sufficiently addressing all the stormwater pollution concerns on the site and applying the most appropriate erosion and/or sediment controls. SWP3 plan review is a rigorous process, and the goal is to get it right the first time so as to not slow down the development permitting process.

Once a SWP3 is approved the work shifts to conducting monthly inspections of the site to see that the plan in being implemented correctly and provide guidance on any plan adjustment as needed. SWP3 inspections are fun because it gives me the chance to get outside and observe how the erosion and sediment controls are functioning. Often maintenance of the various control measures is needed. After these deficiencies are noted, it give me an opportunity to speak with the on-site project manager or construction superintendent and provide some of that stormwater education that I really like doing.

Another routine aspect of the job is to work with community leaders and their staff to make each municipalities stormwater management program the best it can be. These include tweaks to review and inspection processes, advice of enforcement escalation on non-compliant sites, to review of local codified ordinances and providing information about the latest industry trends. In this capacity I like to think of us here at Cuyahoga Soil & Water as an extension of the municipal staff.

Then there are the dreaded administrative functions. The secret to not getting bogged down by administrative minutia is to understand that the work will (or at least should) provide benefits to the operational work described above. Some of those tasks include software updates on the mobile application used to perform inspections. Another is preparing and reviewing annual reports which allows one to reflect on the successes or shortcomings of the program.

On a day-to-day basis there are certainly many other smaller activities that occur as well. These other tasks, interruptions, or happenings are what keeps me on my toes and keep the job exciting. If this brief synopsis, has you interested to learn more, please contact me and we can chat. After all, talking about stormwater is the best part of this job.

Blog Author: Brent Eysenbach, Deputy Director – Stormwater & Technical Services

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