|The purpose of the Field Services and Assistance Division is to provide information and assistance to the public and the regulated community, as well as to conduct inspections, maintain monitoring programs and manage specific projects. With regard to performing inspections, operating monitoring programs and managing projects, Field Services staff coordinates all activities with the Agency’s Air Quality, Waste Management and Water Quality Divisions. Many of the field activities occur out of the department offices located in Omaha, Norfolk, Chadron, Scottsbluff, North Platte and Holdrege.||.|
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In addition to Field Services, the division consists of the following programs: Small Business and Public Assistance, Community Right-To-Know, Emergency Response, Homeland Security, and Quality Assurance.
Over the last year, the programs within the Field Services and Assistance Division have devoted efforts to a number of significant projects. A short summary of some of those efforts
- The Field Services and Assistance Division devotes significant resources to the coordination of the review and response to submissions pursuant to the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). The environmental assessments are conducted by five NDEQ programs: Air Quality, Waste Compliance, Storm Water, Wastewater and Water Quality. The purpose of the assessments is to ensure related projects are conducted in an environmentally responsible manner and to give the project sponsors an early awareness of any potential permits that will be needed for a successful project. During FY2013, NDEQ received 98 new project notifications for NEPA review.
- The Community Right-to-Know Program continues to work with Local Emergency Planning Committees in planning efforts, such as planning and participating in emergency response exercises. The program also participates in educational activities. The Program participated in 18 local emergency management agency meetings over the last year and participated on the State Emergency Response Commission Education/Outreach Committee.
- The Division continues to coordinate environmental partnership efforts with the Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD). The overall objective of the Partnership is to capitalize on the strengths of each organization and make strides toward a sustainable Nebraska. Three of the primary efforts of the Partnership have been:
- Sponsorship of the “Power Summit,” which brings those responsible for generation electricity together with environmental regulators for purposes of examining topics of mutual interest.
- In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture – Rural Development and the EPA AgStar Program, continuing the promotion of the capture and use of methane from concentrated animal feeding operations.
- The Partnership is involved in the examination of energy conservation issues with small communities and their publicly-owned wastewater treatment plants.
- The Emergency Response Program continues to enhance the Department's ability to respond to releases into the environment by securing equipment and coordinating and providing additional training for the Department's Emergency Response Team. Additionally, the Emergency Response Coordinator serves as the Department’s Complaint Coordinator. The Complaint Coordinator implements the Department-wide notification system. The system is designed to increase the effectiveness and bring consistency to the Department’s response to notifications and complaints.
- The Division, primarily through the efforts of the Small Business and Public Assistance Coordinator, is responsible for the planning and conduct of the Department’s annual Environmental Update. The Environmental Update is a one-day conference held for the regulated community and environmental consultants. The purpose of the conference is to provide an opportunity for NDEQ programs to present updates and explain new developments in their programs.
- The Environmental Assistance Division provides assistance to the Waste Management Division in the conduct of the federal Brownfields program. The Brownfields program’s purpose is to restore blighted and contaminated areas of the country to productive use. The Field Service and Assistance Division has been reviewing and providing comments on grant applications to those organizations applying for federal Brownfields grants.
- The Field Office Section Supervisor has continued one-on-one informal visits with small community Municipal Clerks. Clerks often receive requests for information associated with the Department’s various programs and providing them with knowledge of the Department’s programs, and letting the Clerks know who to contact in given situations, benefits the citizens of the state.