December 2017 Metrics Report

Wastewater Construction Permit Program

This program establishes design standards for proposed wastewater treatment facilities. Timely reviews are important for on-time construction and to ensure service is not disrupted. Examples of facility reviews include: sewer extensions for subdivisions, lift station improvements, or an entirely new facility for a new business. From 2010-2017 NDEQ processed a total of 1,665 wastewater permits. The average number of permits has increased from 193 (2010-2014) to 233 (2015-present).

Despite the increase in applications, NDEQ has decreased review time. The goal is to review construction applications within 30 days. In 2017, 264 permits were processed in an average of 23 days, from receipt to completion. In 2015 the average time was 46 days.

Major projects in 2017 included...
  • Discharge relocation – Cargill Meat Solutions (Schuyler) APPROVED
  • Redirect of discharge from Platte River State Park to Louisville WWTF APPROVED
  • Lift station/force main to alleviate hydrogen sulfide gas emissions – Big Ox (South Sioux City) APPROVED
  • Sanitary sewer and lift stations for Costco facility APPROVED
  • Transfer pipeline to the Fremont wastewater treatment facility (WWTF) APPROVED
  • Upgrade to the Fremont WWTF to restore compliance with National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) APPROVED

Combined Sewer Outfall Separation – Omaha
Older sections of Omaha had combined sanitary and storm sewers, which allowed untreated sewage to discharge into the Missouri River. These projects are underway to separate the sewers as much as possible. Major components associated with this project include:
  • Monroe street outfall APPROVED
  • 42nd & Q streets sewer separation APPROVED
  • Burt Izard lift station APPROVED
  • Jones Street sewer relocation APPROVED
  • Sanitary sewer and lift stations APPROVED

Emerging Issues/Risks: On December 29th EPA announced they are requesting public comment on a questionnaire that is part of a national study on requirements associated with nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) removal at publicly owned treatment plants. EPA is concerned about the impact nutrients present to public health and local economies, e.g. nutrients’ role in harmful algal blooms that can contaminate drinking water and impact recreation, tourism and fisheries. NDEQ will likely be asked by local public works officials to assist in the response to the questionnaire. NDEQ will provide help upon request and will follow the EPA effort closely as there could be significant effects on Nebraska communities.

Accomplishments: NDEQ, in conjunction with UNL Extension, held an outreach program designed to assist medium-sized cattle operations (those with 300 to 999 head on site) comply with Title 130 – Livestock Waste Control Regulations. The program was held in West Point. There were 70 attendees, made up of both producers and the consultants involved in livestock regulations. As a result of the program there have been over a dozen requests for on-site compliance assistance visits made by producers. Additionally, NDEQ has been contacted and asked for additional programs to be held in other parts of the state.

On December 15th, the NDEQ Director sent a final copy of the “Solid Waste Management Programs Study” required by LB 1101 (passed in 2016) to the Legislature. The study examines NDEQ’s solid waste management programs and contains recommendations as to “modernize and revise” those programs. NDEQ is in the process of drafting a plan to address the study’s recommendations.

Misc. Items of Note: NDEQ is in the process of restructuring standard conditions in air quality construction and operating permits in an attempt to streamline the permitting processes. NDEQ met with stakeholders in November and again on December 19th to explain the proposed changes and gather user input. Further comment is encouraged until January 12th.