DENR Improves Online Tools in Response to Customer Feedback

Raleigh

RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources has rolled out the second phase of its online permit application tracking system, improved its online search engine and created a new webpage with links to all of its customer forms in its continuing efforts to provide the public with a more efficient way to access the department’s most highly requested data.

“We launched the permit application tracking system in March as an outgrowth of our internal permits improvement efforts, and I’m excited we’ve been able to move quickly to its second phase and provide access to more types of permits,” said Edythe McKinney, director of DENR’s Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach. “I am certain that expanding the tracking system, alongside the improvements to our online search engine and the new forms page, will enhance our customers’ online experience. We made these changes to respond to customer requests, and will continue to make improvements to help us serve North Carolinians more efficiently than ever before.”

DEAO’s Environmental Assistance Center launched the first phase of the permit application tracking system in March; the system can be accessed online through the department’s home page, www.ncdenr.gov , or at /permits-regulations/permit-guidance/permit-tracker . The tracking system allows permit applicants and the public to check the status of pending environmental permit applications and/or plan approvals. The system is designed to allow interested parties to search for pending applications by location, permit type, facility name, permit number and in other ways, to track the review process and view application milestones from the date the application is received until a final decision is made. Phase Two of this system was launched this week, and now includes access to the application status of nearly all permits issued by the Division of Water Quality, and adds permits issued by the Public Water Supply Section of the Division of Water Resources. Using this system, the public can now track the processing time of most permits issued by DENR.

DEAO staff implemented the other online improvements following feedback received last fall from a customer survey and a statewide series of listening sessions. Both the survey and the listening session were launched to gather feedback from customers and staff on ways to improve services and processes. The results of that effort are detailed in the DENR Listening Sessions & Surveys report that was released in March, and a resounding recommendation was to improve the department’s technology and online resources, and make online information clear and easy to find.

In response to the customer feedback of difficulty in locating information on DENR’s website using the “search” function,the search engine was replaced with a more robust system to help customers find needed information. Customer and staff feedback regarding the new search engine has been positive.

Customers also requested that DENR create a comprehensive webpage with links to all of the department’s online forms and permit applications. DEAO staff this week unveiled the department’s new Forms page, where all permit and license forms, recognition and grant applications, and other customer forms can be found. This page, which essentially gives customers a single online point of contact, lists form by division, describing where permits and programs are housed.

Services provided by the Division of Environmental Assistance and Outreach to individuals, businesses, local governments and industry include environmental technical and permit assistance; express permitting coordination; recycling and waste reduction assistance; free onsite energy and water use audits; small business advocacy; recognition of commitments to continual environmental performance; and assistance in discovering financing and tax credits for recycling businesses. More information can be found online at www.ncenvironmentalassistance.org .

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