February 2016 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 February report focuses on air construction and operating permits, ag permits, wastewater permits, construction stormwater permits and agency inspections. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for February, 2016.

Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.

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

Emerging Risks / Issues: The Metropolitan Utilities District has initiated a remediation project near Lynch Park. The site is a former manufactured gas plant site near the intersection of 20th and Center Streets in Omaha. This site was used to process coal into a coal gas which was used across the City to power street lamps, used in households and for other energy applications. The manufacturing of coal gas resulted in hydrocarbon contamination of surrounding soils and groundwater. The remediation project will remove contaminated soil. The excavated soils will be disposed at the Waste Connection landfill near David City. Remediation is expected to last approximately six weeks.

Accomplishments: NDEQ announced a request for proposals that will address petroleum releases from storage tanks. Over the next five years, NDEQ will fund approximately $25 million for the investigation and remediation of contamination resulting from leaking tanks. NDEQ’s Petroleum Remediation Section (PRS) also administers an equipment reuse program associated with the remediation of leaking petroleum storage tanks. The program reuses equipment purchased with state funds. In many states, once the equipment has been used, it is sold at a fraction of its new value or, even worse, scrapped. The PRS started an innovative program to provide that equipment to contractors for subsequent projects. To date, equipment worth over $4 million has been kept in active use, negating the need to purchase new equipment.

Misc. Items of Note: On February 8th, NDEQ, in conjunction with the Groundwater Foundation and the Nebraska Association of Natural Resources Districts, sponsored a legislative breakfast to familiarize Senators with Nebraska’s groundwater issues and explore possible solutions. The event provided a forum where members of the legislature could gain insight into their districts’ groundwater issues through poster displays and conversations with members of the Wellhead Protection Network and participating state agencies such as the Dept. of Health and Human Services and the Dept. of Natural Resources. Eleven Senators and their staff participated in the mornings events.

NDEQ and the Dept. of Agriculture have continued partnering to address issues associated with livestock mortalities. The outbreak of Avian Influenza last May emphasized the importance of our agencies working together to address these unfortunate incidents. During February, NDEQ and Dept. of Agriculture staff made presentations on the issues and requirements associated with routine and mass mortalities of livestock. Presentations were made to groups associated the pork industry, Nebraska Poultry Industries and the Nebraska Dairymen. NDEQ and the Dept. of Agriculture continue the dialogue in order to effectively address these issues in the most effective manner possible.