THE SECONDS OF A TIMELY ORIGIN
In 2008, eight EPA Region 4 states came together for their annual States Manager’s meeting. During this meeting Georgia, South Carolina, and Tennessee talked about sharing data from their shared online provider. Georgia shared this idea with the group. All eight states were interested in exploring this new concept.
About five months later these eight states met in Chattanooga Tennessee to discuss areas of overlap the states could share like reporting questions, data reports, and raw data. Through this meeting, the states agreed to share basic data that would aid them in the program management and streamline sharing data.
In 2011, with EPA Region 4 help, the project came to fruition with the first online sharing of data in an “apples-to-apples” manner. All eight states reported. Though not all states had all responses, each responded based upon their ability and availability of data provided.
The next two years, the state’s collaboration effort spent time improving the system and reporting efforts. The States asked and worked with EPA Region 4 to provide Quality Control on data for uniformity.
MANY MILES BREAKING TO NATIONAL
In 2010, the initial measurement team went on the road to Colorado to learn about Region 8 states efforts in measurement. There was a lot of interest in both directions because Measurement Matters.
In August 2011 with an official “Go-Live” under our belts, the measurement team packed up and went on the road to the ASTSWMO meeting in Kansas City and Indianapolis for the Resource Recycling Conference to present our struggles and energies.
This effort demonstrated that measurement was definitely important to states across the country and that there was a need to share data. However, all agreed the states desired to maintain control and “own” their data.
In January 2015, the project team shared with NEWMOA through a series of conference calls and webinars trying to build agreement. During this time, the team presented several times to the EPA Regional Branch Chiefs the project benefits.
The Region 4 states entered 2009 and 2010 data into the system. Not every state had data for every question, but all reported. However, this first effort produced many reports that allowed the states for the first time to see a normalized dataset.
In 2012-2013, this regional effort expanded into national measurement program with twenty-states entering data. Since then,the participation has increased to 31 states and the District of Columbia in 2015 and 2016 in the State Template (quantitative data) and half the states have reviewed the Resource Module (qualitative programmatic information). Overall, 41 states have participated in the program.
RAISING THE VOLUME AT FIRST MEASUREMENT MATTERS WORKSHOP
The first Measurement Matters workshop was held at the September 2014 Resource Recycling Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.
September 2015, Measurement Matters was held in Indianapolis Indiana at the Resource Recycling Conference.
Measurement Matters workshop had a repeat performance again in 2016 in New Orleans at a pre-conference workshop at the Resource Recycling Conference.
At these meetings, representatives from states, local governments, industry and non-profits all came together to discuss how they measure up and talk about the future.
AN OUNCE TODAY
On August 28th, 2017, Measurement Matters hosted the fourth annual workshop seeking feedback, identifying barriers, and working to expand the measure of success. Over 100 attendees were present.
A TON TOMORROW
To further bolster state, local and national measurement the first ever national measurement summit will be held:
TO INFINITY AND BEYOND
The vision has not changed in the ten years this state collaboration has grown. The goal is still the same – States working with States to share their data in a consistent manner that is makes it accessible for research, benchmarking, and planning. With this goal, each state will retain control. Measurement Matters is collaboration, a partnership for the states that benefit all.
The future holds many possibilities. A common means of “talking” together, common category names, consistent methodologies, and best management practices used by all states. The driving force is not from a regulatory initiative, but from a common need to talk and share information.