Life is rapidly changing for everyone and new directives are being sent hourly on what we need to do to contain the spread of COVID-19. Our foremost concern is to keep everyone safe. This morning it dawned on me for the first time, and some of you may be in my situation, my age puts me in the high-risk group.
Today (March 16, 2020) I notified all Regional Offices they may work remotely from home until further notice. While there are some who may go to their office to work, I suggest calling the person you wish to meet to find out if that person is in. Additionally, if, and I believe only a matter of time until, the Governor, Secretary, or Commissioner directs the Regional Offices to close and to work remotely, we will hopefully have worked out any deficiencies so everyone will have an efficient method to submit, process, and approve applications to avoid delays.
As we move forward, please note the following:
- All Regional Office people working remotely will continue to have access to Outlook, ANROnline, our tracking system, and all drives necessary to process applications.
- People conducting permit searches can find most permits on our wastewater permit search page at https://dec.vermont.gov/water/forms/ww-systems-permits but there are files not available for view by the public. If this happens, please contact our Administrative Assistants who will be able to assist.
- While Regional and Assistant Regional Engineers have cell phones, our Administrative Assistants do not. There may be delays in returning phone calls. The best means for communicating with our Administrative Assistants will be by email.
- Receiving mail will be an issue if offices close. If no one is in the office, it’s very likely we will suspend mail delivery. The following items are done by our Administrative Assistants who will be working remotely.
- We strongly suggest designers who have a waiver for submitting electronic applications prepare in advance to find a way to upload and submit with an application through ANROnline. If the offices close, it will be mandatory to submit applications through ANROnline.
- We strongly suggest designers work with clients to prepare in advance to electronically pay applications fees. If offices need to close, it will be mandatory to submit fees electronically.
- We strongly suggest designer who have a waiver for submitting record drawings prepare in advance to find a way to upload and submit with your installation certification through ANROnline. If offices need to close, it will be mandatory to submit your record drawings through ANROnline.
- I understand there is a free app at https://acrobat.adobe.com/us/en/mobile/scanner-app.html that allows the use of a phone to scan a plan or any document.
- Sending mail will be an issue if offices close. The following items are done by our Administrative Assistants who will be working remotely.
- We will not have access to our printers to print permits and other correspondence.
- We will not have access to our scanning equipment to scan and save documents or to scan and mail which we frequently do.
- We are requesting all applications have the landowner’s email address. In the event the landowner does not have an email address, we strongly encourage the landowner provide a signed request that we email all documents to the designer filing the application who can then provide to the landowner. This will become mandatory if the offices close.
- This allows us to process an application and save all documents and plans to quickly make all documents and plans available on our wastewater permit search page.
- This allows us to stamp a copy of the permit for recording which we normally mail but now we can make it available on-line for the owner to copy and record in the land records.
- At this time, Regional Offices may conduct site visits with the following requests and understandings:
- Please inform the office if you or your client have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Please only one person in a test pit at a time.
- Please respect the social distancing of 6 feet around people.
- Please do not be offended if we do not shake hands or do the elbow bump.
- We may do a post application site visit if we do not meet with you to do a pre-application site visit.