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Enhancing Public Safety in Boston: A Computerized System to Inventory and Track Underground Storage Tanks

Enhancing Public Safety in Boston: A Computerized System to Inventory and Track Underground Storage Tanks

By: Malinda O'Donnell, Turin Pollard and Marvin Savain

Advised by: Fabio Carrera, Ted Crusberg and Michelle Ephraim

Presented to: Captain Maurice Mahoney, Boston Fire Department

Executive Summary

This project was preformed in conjunction with the Boston Fire Department's Special Hazards Division (BFD) to improve its Underground Storage Tank (UST) control and inspection process. These improvements are geared towards increasing the efficiency of the BED. The project group accomplished this by developing a proof of concept for a computerized system to maintain the records the BFD needs for its UST related operations.

The current system used by the BFD is based on paper records of all UST related information that the BED has. These records are organized alphabetically by street address, without a master index of all sites in the city. This results in a system that is difficult to use for outside personnel, and will be difficult to train new staff to use.

The new system developed by the project group is a substantial step forward for the BED, which has not had the staffing or the time to attempt a system like this before. With the adoption of this system, which uses a database and linked maps to display UST information, the BED will be able to access data faster and more efficiently. The increase in efficiency comes from the ability to access multiple files with ease, allowing area searches to be preformed quickly and easily.

With this increase in available information, the BED has the potential to increase its enforcement and inspection actions relating to USTs. Currently the enforcement of UST related regulations is lacking, due to the high demands required to take punitive action. The legislative streamlining of this process would aid the BED greatly in its ability to pursue action against offending UST operators.

Due to state regulations, the BED must maintain all records for UST sites for as long as the site is active. However, the paper records do not have to be used for routine operations, which is the role of the systems produced by this project. This project introduces some new technology to the BED's personnel, its main objective being to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the BED.

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