About a year ago, the seed of an idea began to form: Put air permits and related documents on the DEQ website for the public to search and view. It would address recommendations the Secretary of State made in a recent audit and help keep our promise to Cleaner Air Oregon stakeholders to make air quality permits more easily accessible. It also lined up well with DEQ’s efforts to modernize and streamline the agency’s processes with “Your DEQ Online,” a new data management system. Both increase transparency and efficiency.
In April, we had a full team composed of air quality staff from headquarters and regional offices, as well as people from software development and integration and IT operations. Led by Program Analyst Sujin Yean, they worked together to obtain approvals, set up a new server, develop special coding, scan an enormous amount of existing air permits, test the new system, create a manual and train permit coordinators, among other things.
That seed has now flourished into a full program. On the AQ Permits Online webpage, the public can now access current air quality permits and modifications, review reports and more. The system covers ACDP and Title V permits, and has replaced the current DEQ Title V Permits directory. The same documents can also be found using the Facility Profiler-Lite Interactive Viewer, a map-based interface.
“We accomplished our goal in seven months because everyone worked so well together. We couldn’t have done it without every team member’s input,” said Yean. “It was truly a collaborative effort.”
That cooperation continues, as permit coordinators will add new permit documents as they come in, as well as those that might have been missed. Headquarters staff will provide ongoing support.
− Susan C. Mills, public affairs specialist