A Message from NDEQ Director Jim Macy:
In July 2015, NDEQ initiated a monthly metrics report. This information is provided to the Governor’s Office, is shared with NDEQ staff, and now is being presented to the public. The reason this report has been established is to measure what the agency has accomplished; to set annual and longer-term goals; and to examine these goals against accomplishments to ensure continuous process improvements.
The September report focuses on Water Quality Division permits. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for September, 2015.
Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.
Water Quality Division Permits
The Water Quality Division (WQD) issues a number of permits for various purposes. To date, we have reported on the permits that require the most staff time to review and issue – Livestock and Wastewater permits (approximately 250 annually). The WQD issues permits (as shown in the accompanying table) for several other activities. Typically the Department issues over 1,200 of these permits each year. This is a substantial workload and is accomplished with approximately 30 FTEs. The graph shows the maximum time it takes to issue permits. The online permitting system, when fully functional, will enable us to measure different components of the permitting process which will be a useful management tool. (Wastewater permits are the only permits issued quarterly.)
The online system for Construction Stormwater permits will enable the Department to issue permits within hours rather than days. The system is designed to enable the applicant to enter critical permitting information into the system that satisfies regulatory permitting requirements. The online system for Construction Storm Water permits will go live on or about November 18. The Department is using the Construction Stormwater Permitting System as a model for other programs, specifically the Air Quality Construction permit program.
Following is a description of specific issues NDEQ has been addressing in September:
Emerging Risks / Issues:
The Air Quality Division coordinated a meeting of all coal-burning utilities to discuss Nebraska’s Carbon Mitigation Plan (NCMP). Various options and related issues were discussed and plans made to formalize a project plan to complete the NCMP. This group will meet monthly to ensure needed communication occurs. Unless an extension is requested, the first submittal of the NCMP is due in September 2016.
Air Quality Division (AQD) staff met with Governor Ricketts and presented the AQD approach to improving timeliness of their construction permit process. Recently passed regulations allow the AQD to issue general permits for specific source categories, the first of which will be asphalt batch plants on or about November 18. Concrete plants will be next and an additional three source categories will follow. The general permit process will expedite the Air Quality permitting process for the subject sources.
The Water Quality Division, Petroleum Remediation Section, has been running an equipment reuse program since 2005. The program reuses equipment purchased by state funds and loans it to remediation companies that would otherwise purchase new equipment using state resources. To date, the Department has saved $4,073,426 in new equipment costs; the total for 2015 stands at $445,426, our fourth highest yearly total, with three months remaining in the year.
Misc. Items of Note:
EPA revised the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for sulfur dioxide in 2010. The Department had to assess three areas, all adjacent to power plants, to demonstrate compliance with the new standard. One of the areas, around NPPD’s Sheldon Station near Hallam, potentially could exceed the standard. The Air Quality Division and NPPD jointly worked on a plan to ensure compliance by the July 2016 deadline. The plan is contained in a Consent Decree signed September 18th.
On September 1st, the Department initiated use of an “Inspection Exit Summary “ form to be used for all compliance inspections. The form formally closes the inspection and informs the facility representative of their compliance status, or documents the need for additional information to make that determination. The form is intended to ensure the facility and the Department have a common understanding of the compliance status of the facility as soon as possible subsequent to the inspection.