Ongoing Projects

The DEC Lean program produces a quarterly report for ongoing projects in active implementation. Updated 10/15/2019.

For more information about any of these projects, please contact Justin Kenney at (802) 585-8171 or john.sears@vermont.gov

PETROLEUM CLEANUP FUND (PCF)
Event Date – February 2014

 

The lead-time to issue reimbursement checks to our customers (tank owners and their consultants) was too long.  Redundancy in the review and appeal process duplicated efforts and increased the length of time it took to receive a reimbursement from the State. 

 

An innovative approach was needed to both free-up staff time involved in reimbursement activity and money owed to the public and consulting community. 

 GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

  • 90% reimbursement w/in 30 days of claim receipt date.

STATUS

  • For the fourth quarter of 2018 (Oct-Dec), 93% of claims were paid within 30 days of receipt versus the 2013 baseline of 31%. 
  • For the fourth quarter of 2018, ANR internal processing time average was 10 days (median 6 days) versus the 2013 baseline of 47 days, a reduction of 79%.

 

Our great state is using online reimbursement claim submissions that are more efficient for all users and that include value added tools for checking on claim status and internal tracking of process metrics.During the first quarter of 2019 new fields were added to our database and linked to our online PCF claim submission form.We beta tested with internal users and determined that additional changes were needed for managing claims with multiple invoices.Beta testing also found that user entry errors could misalign data flow between the online submission and our database.These bugs were fixed.

 

We have two final steps before going to production.First, our IT staff need to complete and deploy an automated email generated from the database that will serve as a routing form with all code information needed for issuing a payment.This email will also obviate the need for staff to use our database in the payment process and allow staff to complete the process within ANRonline.This allows us to bypass a time delay between systems that interrupts staff processing steps.DEC also needs to rollout the new version of ANROnline from test to production.

CONSTRUCTION PROCUREMENT

Event Date – March 2015

 

The scope of this project covers the roughly 2.5 years of construction procurement process: putting contracts out to bid, award, execution of the contracts which includes billing and paying, change orders, and site visits through the end of the 1-year warranty period when loan repayment begins.  The process starts with “60% design review” where our Facilities Engineering Division (FED) Construction Section coordinates with Clean Water and Drinking Water staff to ensure that the design/specs are biddable and constructible and meets design standards.

 

GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

  • Efficiency measures reduce overtime by 15%.
  • DEC process time reduced by 15%.
  • 10% increase of on-time projects.
  • 10% increase of on-budget projects.

STATUS

Chris R is working with Diane Sherman and the FED construction section to review the DBE process, including contractor procurement under the SRF, as well as record keeping requirements. A FED DBE SOP is in process. Lynnette C and Roger B provided 4 “SRF 201” trainings in conjunction with DW&GWPD outreach on the new Permit to Construct application and PFOA.The SRF 201 training focused on contract documents, American Iron Steel, Disadvantages Business Enterprise (DBE), Davis Bacon Act (DBA), and the eligible updates to the Engineering Service Allowance (ESA) cost curve documents. Engineers are working with John S to plan a multi-media approach to providing training and information to our clients – i.e. municipalities and other SRF project owners, consultants, and contractors.John’s persistent nudging is needed to keep this big and long-term effort moving forward. Jeff is working with Eric to organize and place key design/construction and finance documents on a share-point type system.

GROUNDWATER RECLASSIFICATION

Event Date – July 2015

 

This Lean event was conducted with the goal of improving the process to reclassify contaminated groundwater to class IV.  The current reclassification process lacks clarity, takes too long to complete (12 sites in 20 years averaging roughly 15 months each) and often leads to improper submittal of information and materials.  Roles and responsibilities of involved parties are not well defined, re-do loops are common, and the process lacks transparency.  Finally, there is a concern that once a reclassification does occur, there is inconsistent portrayal, distribution and use of the mapped data. 

GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

  • Improve timeliness of reclassifications.
  • Increase transparency.
  • Complete 31 reclassifications by the end of 2018, bringing the total active site reclassifications since 1993 to 43 (up from 12).

STATUS

DEC’s draft rule amendment was approved by the Interagency Committee on Administrative Rules, and DEC is currently finalizing responses to the formal public comment period.  The final steps will be filing with the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules and, if approved, filing with the Secretary of State.  During the last quarter, DEC developed a database tool that integrates with our GIS system to determine (and track) which hazardous sites are subject to reclassification.  Beta testing of this system will start in May.   

Act 250 and Section 248 Response Coordination

Event Date – February 2017

 

The review of Section 248 and Act 250 permit applications requires input from various programs throughout the Agency. The existing process for soliciting comments on current applications involves a weekly email to over 200 staff.  The process often does not receive prompt responses to these requests and requires Office of Planning and Policy (OPP) staff to manually solicit comments for certain projects, leading to additional time spent to ensure completeness.  The current minimum timeframe for this process is a 21-day turnaround but can be longer depending on the type of application.

GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

  • % of applications deemed complete upon submittal
  • % of time that technical comments are sufficient for filing on first submittal

STATUS

  • Donald Hefferon from IT recently fixed a number of bugs and outstanding issues with the SharePoint platform that were identified through past rounds of testing.  Staff from the ANR Office of Planning and Policy (OPP) tested the updated platform with Donald on June 16, 2019 and found it functioning in a generally acceptable manner.  Donald is now working on a short punch list of final items. 
  • Once he has completed that work, OPP will organize broader user testing with regulatory review staff from DEC and DFW, with the goal of rolling out the SharePoint site and associated process changes to all Act 250 and Section 248 reviewers in the late summer/early fall.

PERMIT PERFORMANCE STANDARDS

Event Date – July 2016

 

In 1987, the Legislature mandated that the Agency of Natural Resources establish time limits for the processing of permits as well as procedures and time periods within which to notify applicants whether an application is complete. Annually, ANR (specifically DEC) is required to submit a report to the legislature assessing its performance in meeting the time limits. Given that these time limits have not been updated since 2005, that the procedure for calculating them is from 1996, and that the knowledge and use of the time limits and procedure is inconsistent across the Department, now seemed like a good time to look at the process to find ways to improve it.

GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

  • % of programs evaluated on how they implement the permit application review procedure and track process performance
  • % of programs actively using performance data to manage permit processes

STATUS

  •  We have filled our vacant DEC Business Process Analyst position and anticipate work will resume next quarter for the project.

Find and Fund II

Event Date – December 2017

 

The Agency’s Tactical Basin Planning (TBP) process utilizes integrated watershed assessment information from many sectors and sources to understand water quality conditions and identify appropriate restoration/protection projects.  The information gathered through TBP about projects assists the Clean Water Implementation Program in making decisions about the allocation of funding through Ecosystem Restoration Grants. ​

GOALS AND KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPIs)

Improve the process of identifying, developing and prioritizing projects for funding, and in doing so, promote greater predictability with respect to project effectiveness (e.g., measurable outcomes, etc.). Increase predictability among partners as to the likelihood of project funding and support better information-sharing with the public and stakeholders. ​ Promote greater consistency and transparency in the process of project proposal evaluation, from a technical and policy perspective. Revised Metric: % projects being submitted that have a high impact (i.e., high environmental benefit) relative to degree of Natural Resource constraint (i.e., lack of regulatory oversight needed, or permitting required to implement that project)

STATUS

  • Water Quality Project Screening Tool now online!
    • FY20 (1st quarter) ERP grant included requirement of grant applicants to use WPST to screen for potential natural resource constraints
    • Included in guidance materials
  • The Water Quality Project Screening Tool provides basin specific info and regulatory and non-regulatory contact info for a discrete project location.
  • Watershed Projects Database revisions –
  • Standardized assessments (that are funded through ERP (Clean Water Funds) are being consistently submitted.
    • Stakeholder committee organized at onset
    • Desktop assessment conducted based of the of data library collection for the study area.
    • Project ranking for each site will occur
      • project criteria will be based drainage area size, pollutant load reduction potential, percentage of impervious area, proximity to water, hydrological soil group determination, land owner type determination
    • Town-wide map and BMP summary sheets
    • Site summaries, ranking tables and x sites (typically 5-6) determined for 30% design
    • Final project prioritization will be determined
    • Stormwater Master Plan Report
  • Common prioritization and ranking methods are being applied to implemented projects:
    • STP – stormwater treatment practice calculator (and the BATT) tool used to assess BMP project efficiencies, including for Ag, riparian buffer plantings, and stormwater
  • ADS projects in the hopper - 
    • Watershed Project Explorer Map
    • Refinements to the Watershed Projects Database (as mentioned)

Vermont Municipal Bond Bank MOU Revision

Event Date - Dec. 2018

 

The Water Infrastructure Financial Management team has an ongoing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Vermont Municipal Bond Bank (VMBB) to undersign loans with municipalities [per statute]. Process bottlenecks prevent timely issuance of loans to needy municipalities and overlapping effort contributes to redundancy. Further coordination with the VMBB is necessary to streamline the process. ​

GOALS

  • Reduce overlapping work effort between state and VMBB.
  • Speed processing of loan agreements and payment requests.
  • Revise and approve the MOU between DEC and VMBB which includes a new fee schedule, new implementation of municipality payment request approval, audit management by DEC, monthly account reconciliation oversight, and contingent loan approval.

STATUS

Great news re: this contract (formerly MOU). Tracy and Terisa met with VMBB yesterday and gave Michael a brief walk through of what we were proposing, the rationale we arrived at (a % of the fund balance, divided by 12 due to only servicing once per year compared with VEDA + additional underwriting costs).  He was very pleased and expressed content at the way this process developed. The format is very different than what it was and there are some small questions that we still need addressed, but are mostly semantics. He is going to review the language and will provide comments but I think the big issues of fee schedule and how the two groups interact has been largely resolved by this entire process. Update: WIFP is still in contract negotiations with VMBB. WIFP sent a contract copy to VMBB for review, Michael requested a discussion with the DEC FO Director in reference to language. WIFP will set a meeting for DEC FO and VMBB to meet and discuss contract language. WIFP is hoping to have the contract ageement signed per schedule.

Indirect Discharge Compliance Reporting

Event Date – Dec. 2018

 

Indirect Discharge systems permitted with individual permits are required to submit monthly or quarterly compliance data to the Indirect Discharge Program, located in the Drinking Water and Groundwater Protection Division in DEC. Reports are received primarily via email and are processed twice: once for administrative presence/absence and once for compliance with permit conditions. The program historically had multiple permit compliance staff and greater administrative support; currently, the program consists of one compliance staff person and one administrative staff person whose time is shared between multiple programs.

GOALS

  • Streamline the format of data received to conform to compliance information required ​
  • Enable ability to track outstanding reports efficiently ​
  • Create capability to quickly extract compliance data and whether standards are being met ​
  • Combine data into one efficient data base with efficient dash board and report capabilities

STATUS

  1. We discussed the progress in developing the ANR Online Application and Operating Fees Form that we are currently testing before going “live.” Once this is finalized, we will roll it out with notices to the permittees and applicants, website updates, etc. Joanna and Neil brought up the idea of making the application also on line with the fees. We will follow-up with Greg regarding this idea and have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Since our application forms are very simple and half the information is already built into the fee form, it may not be too difficult to include the application as well.
  2. WWI database progress is proceeding. Much of the fields have been developed, and now there is a lot of work making the system easy for data entry. We have asked for help with business processes to make sure we correctly communicate what the program needs. John Sears will be helping the program develop a list of outstanding issues, along with a process for requesting assistance from IT.
  3. Data entry for water quality assessments – Neil brought up his interests in having certain water quality data for the surface water quality database. We will meet with Rick Levy from WSMD to discuss.
  4. Temporary assistance with data entry – the program has requested temporary help (about 10 hours a week) to catch up data entry into the WWI database. Once the system is ready for this data entry, we hope to move forward with this assistance from the former administrative assistant, Julie Campbell, who is interested in helping and is very familiar with this database.

Federal Grants-In Process Improvement

Event Date – March 2019

 

​There are currently five people helping to manage incoming federal grants for the Department. These grant managers work with project managers across the Department to facilitate the process of applying for Federal funds from a variety of Agencies. In the past this process was held by one person allowing for a standard practice due to only one person carrying it out. Now that five people are involved, a standard practice needs to be developed to in order to maintain an organized process and consistency within the Department. 

GOALS

The overarching goals include promoting greater consistency and transparency in the process. We also would like to develop a process to ensure adequate time for proper budget and proposal development, as well as ensure all costs are included as part of the budgeting.

STATUS

The team has met and has almost completed the new budgeting template based on the feedback we collected during the Lean event. We have started work on formalizing the new standard operating procedure and plan to have that completed sometime in June.