August 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 August report focuses on permit applications received by the agency, permit decisions, and number of compliance inspections. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for August, 2015.

Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.

This graph shows the number of permit applications that are under review by the Air, Waste and Water Divisions, and the number of days since they were received by the agency.

This graph summarizes average days for permit decisions in NDEQ’s Air, Waste and Water Divisions in August. The graph includes only permits that must be publicly noticed.

The bars in this graph show the compliance inspections conducted by the Air (blue), Waste (red), and Water (green) Divisions each month for the past year. The lines indicate the average number of inspections per division in the previous year.

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

Emerging Risks / Issues:

The Department will provide individual program permit backlog summaries in future reports. The Water Quality Division, Wastewater Section, has 85 facilities on the backlog list. Of these, 23 are on public notice or will be issued Oct. 1st. When the 23 permits are issued, the Program will meet our goal of no more than 10% of the total facilities on the backlog list.

The Air Quality Division (AQD) has permit backlogs in both the construction and operating permit programs. Historically, the AQD has had difficulty retaining staff; this has played a large role in the permit backlog. The AQD is examining options to address the operating permit backlog including: retaining private consultants to review permits, staff hiring and retention strategies, and examining internal processes. The Division will consider regulatory revisions – specifically extending the length of permit terms. The AQD construction permit backlog will be eased with recently promulgated regulatory revisions which provide facilities with an option to apply for general permits. Applicants will be able to complete an online application and, if eligible, obtain expedited coverage within days of application. This will provide staff with time to address other issues. The general construction permits will be fully functional in November.


The Department and the City of Beatrice have been examining options to most effectively address groundwater contamination resulting from operations at a legacy manufactured gas plant. The City has elected to enter into the Department’s Voluntary Cleanup Program, a better alternative than pursuing the remediation under the federal Superfund program.

DEQ and the Dept. of Agriculture coordinated a “Heartland Avian Influenza Workshop” on August 11-12. Fifty-five staff from the environmental and agriculture departments from Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin participated. The purpose of the workshop was to exchange best management practices used in addressing Avian Influenza and to identify areas of concern.

Misc. Items of Note:

As a result of a recent meeting with Governor Ricketts, the Director and Department staff visited with officials from Plymouth and Fairbury. Discussions centered on the potential to use the Department’s deconstruction grant program to address dilapidated buildings in the communities and to examine challenges posed by new ammonia effluent standards at their wastewater treatment plants.

DEQ staff has initiated planning for outreach meetings for the ethanol and livestock industries. Workshops will be held in Grand Island and Norfolk late this Fall.