The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NC DEQ) has added a new application to its AccessDEQ digital hub.
“AccessDEQ brings our data and tools together in one place and the new online application is another milestone in our initiative to modernize and streamline our permitting processes and work at the speed of business,” said DEQ Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser.
The online Erosion & Sediment Control application serves the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources (DEMLR).
According to NC DEQ, the digital hub includes online records, data, and maps as well as the available online permit application processes. DEMLR is the second division to join AccessDEQ and implement online application services, which was made possible by the Permitting Transformation Program (PTP). NC DEQ noted that DEMLR processes an average of 2,500 erosion and sediment control applications each year, while overseeing more than 10,000 projects at any one time across the state.
“This new software will allow DEMLR staff to better review and process the thousands of erosion and sediment control applications we receive annually and will let our staff and our clients track the process more consistently across our regional offices,” said DEMLR Interim Director Toby Vinson. “As a bonus, working through this digital platform will significantly reduce the amount of paper used by our clients and in our offices.”
In a press release, NC DEQ highlighted how transitioning to the online system will make the process more efficient. Improvements to the process include:
- “The application has been streamlined to ask targeted questions concerning the applicant’s specific project, making the process easier to navigate.
- Applicants will be able to track the status of their application, increasing access to information.
- DEMLR staff can enter and access data in the field, reducing response time.
- Online processing and handling of permit applications will reduce staff hours spent on applications while reducing the cost of paper copies, postage and printing.
- The system offers added convenience with its new online credit card payment option.”
“This online solution should streamline the permitting process and provide improved transparency to our customers,” said State Sedimentation Program Manager Julie Coco. “The next step will combine erosion control and construction stormwater permitting into a single online application, further simplifying the application process for our clients.”
NC DEQ also said that the digital hub, which is the result of a multi-year effort, will continue to expand as additional online tools for permits, records, and data become available.