December 2015 Metrics Report

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 November report focuses on permit applications and permit decisions. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for December, 2015.

Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.

Following is a description of specific issues NDEQ has been addressing in December:

Emerging Risks / Issues: The Water Quality Division (WQD) will issue 21 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits with more stringent discharge levels for ammonia. The increased permit levels is the result of action taken by EPA. Compliance with the new limits will result in additional treatment costs and efforts. The WQD has conducted numerous outreach activities and has had conversations with many organizations and municipalities to ensure familiarity with the ammonia standard and to help make compliance easier.

Accomplishments: With the retirement of Jay Ringenberg and Pat Rice, their unclassified positions have been used in a more effective manner. There is now a Deputy Director for Water, and a Deputy Director for Air and Waste Divisions. This was accomplished with a overall reduction in salary costs. An engineering position in water is being held open to help streamline the organization and for additional cost savings. Kara Valentine is the Deputy Director of Air and Land. Steve Goans is the Deputy Director of Water.

The Air Quality Testing and Monitoring Unit is proposing to close ambient monitors for particulates in Cozad and Gothenburg and a lead monitor in Auburn. Closing the lead monitor was possible because of increased efficiencies in new pollution control equipment installed at Magnolia Metals (2012) that resulted in levels of lead falling to less than 5% of the standard.

The WQD completed their first full month of issuing General Permits for Construction Stormwater. A total of 26 permits were issued. The average time to receipt and issuance was one day; down from a previous average issuance time of 14 days.

Misc. Items of Note: DEQ Agriculture Section sponsored the Animal Feeding Operation Workshop on December 11th in Norfolk. This was the first workshop to focus solely on livestock regulations. The Workshop was well attended by the consulting community and other technical service providers with 44 attendees. Topics were selected to assist producers in permitting and compliance issues.

DEQ has an agreement with the City of Columbus to operate and maintain groundwater extraction and treatment system associated with the National Priorities List (NPL) site in Columbus. Superfund law prescribes that EPA has pay 90% of all costs for the first 10 years with the state responsible for 10%. The law requires states to assume 100% of the costs after 10 years. This is the first of seven Superfund sites to reach the 10 year threshold. It will cost approximately $207,000/year to operate and maintain the cleanup system. This was presented to and passed during the 2015 legislative session.