|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 April report focuses on air construction and operating permits, ag permits, wastewater permits, construction stormwater permits and agency inspections. Following that are graphs showing air quality impacts as a result of controlled burns in Kansas in April. This is followed by a summary of issues, accomplishments and other items of note for April, 2016.
Updated information will be posted monthly on this website.
Following is a description of specific issues NDEQ has been addressing in April:
Emerging Risks / Issues: On April 21st, Heritage Disposal and Storage submitted a Notice of Intent to operate a commercial hazardous waste management facility on the grounds of the Cornhusker Army Ammunition Plant property west of Grand Island. This project is unique in that it is covered by a statute passed in 1987 and has been used only once, in 1991. The statute requires the Director of NDEQ and local authorities to appoint a 12-member Site Review Committee to review the proposal and submit a report to the Director outlining the local community’s questions and concerns on the proposal. The Site Review Committee met on April 25th to organize their efforts. The Committee elected John Turnbull (retired NRD Manager) as Chair, and Chad Nabity (Planning Director, Grand Island/Hall County) as Vice Chair.
Since 2004, NDEQ has been sampling public beaches for the microcystin toxin – a toxin released from blue-green algae. The Public Beach Monitoring Program collects and analyzes more than 1,200 samples annually. Sampling is being conducted statewide on 50 public lakes covering 53 beaches, May 1st through September 30th. In 2015, 18 samples (1.4% of total samples) exceeded the 20 ppb microcystin threshold for closing a beach. This caused 5 lakes to be placed on Health Alert; this was less than previous years. Sampling results are placed on NDEQ’s website weekly at http://deq.ne.gov/NDEQProg.nsf/Beaches2016.xsp.
Accomplishments: The Air Quality Division issued coverage under new air general construction permits to three applicants in April - emergency engines at a data facility, a new asphalt plant, and an aggregate crushing operation. This innovative program will increase the efficiency of the construction permitting process. Eligible applicants can apply online and obtain coverage in a few days compared with an individual permit process that typically takes four to eight months. General permits have been issued for aggregate processing, emergency engines, hot mix asphalt (2), and truck mix concrete batch plants (2). More categories are being considered.
Misc. Items of Note: At the April meeting of the Groundwater Protection Council Board of Directors, Marty Link, Administrator of NDEQ’s Water Quality Division, was elected President. Marty will serve a two-year term, starting in September. The GWPC is an organization made up of representatives from state agencies which regulate oil and gas underground injection activities and ground water protection programs, including Wellhead and Source Water Protection and non-oil and gas underground injection. GWPC works closely with US EPA, US Dept. of Energy, and the oil and gas industry to collaboratively address protection of drinking water sources.