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State Innovation Grants

EPA 2005-2006 State Innovation Grants Competition Pre-Proposals

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality
Waste and Hazardous Materials Division

Project Title: Paperless Permitting Pilot Project

Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Bureau of Air and Radiation
1000 SW Jackson, Suite 310
Topeka, Kansas 66612-1366
Attn: Mindy Bowman
785-296-6421 (voice)
785-291-3953 (fax)

Problem Statement:

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) Bureau of Air and Radiation (BAR) receives and processes approximately 435 air quality construction permit applications per year. Of these, a significant number are from sources whose air emission profiles and applicable regulations are very similar, and subsequently the permits they receive are similar. Examples include rock crushers, hot mix asphalt plants, and natural gas compressor stations. BAR has developed several alternatives to streamline the process of issuing permits to these facilities. While they have reduced the permitting workload, a significant staff burden remains in processing these permits. The result is that facilities that need the permit to construct must wait until staff can to process their applications. These delays cause frustration as well as economic consequences for the corporations that want to install new equipment. The end result is that permitting staff spend significant time reviewing permit applications with little environmental impact while applications for larger, more complex applications get delayed or do not receive as thorough a review.

Project Description:

In order to address this problem, KDHE is proposing to develop an online permitting process that goes beyond a web application process to the actual development of the permit.

The initial stage in the process is to select two or three industry sectors to use in this project. KDHE will evaluate the existing air quality permitting workload by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code to determine which industry sectors receive a significant number of permits. KDHE will then look at individual past issued permits to determine which two or three sectors have common regulations and minimal variation between permits. These sectors will be selected as pilots for paperless permit issuance.

KDHE will then identify industry stakeholders for the selected industry sectors and contact the stakeholders to form a group for reviewing work products and beta-testing. We will need to purchase and install a new modular server to host the program. KDHE will work with our Information Technology Department staff and a software developer to develop and install prototype software on the server.

The software will be designed to complete the following processes. An applicant will complete the online permit application form. The online form will contain information that would allow a computer algorithm to determine applicability of specific regulations. For example, many hot mix asphalt plants are subject to the requirements of 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart I. If this regulation applies, requirements specific to this regulation will be listed in the permit. The software will then generate a proposed construction permit outlining applicable requirements. The applicant can review the proposed permit, submit any comments with it for review, and the application fee to KDHE. Next KDHE will review the proposed permit, make any necessary modifications, and e-mail or post online the final permit. Ideally this process could be completed within one to two days, compared to our current target of 30 days.

After the software is developed, KDHE will conduct internal testing of prototype software. Next we will work with our industry stakeholders to conduct beta-testing of the prototype software and make software modifications as appropriate. KDHE will then make the final software available to the regulated community, with a follow-up survey to identify any remaining problems. After all problems are resolved, KDHE will prepare report summarizing project results so benefits can be shared with other state and local agencies.

A tentative schedule of expected milestones/ timelinesis as follows:




Lead Entity


Time Frame


Grant Awarded/ Project Kickoff




June 1, 2005


Develop Request for Proposal to obtain software development assistance for project.




July, 2005


Select two or three industry sectors for pilot permit process




August, 2005


Identify industry stakeholders for selected industry sectors and contact to form group for reviewing work products and beta-testing


KDHE and

Industry Partners


September, 2005


Develop algorithms for creating permits for alternative industry sectors




October, 2005


Purchase and install new modular server to host program


KDHE-BAR and Information Technology (IT) Staff


October, 2005


Coordinate with software developer and KDHE Information Technology Department during installation of software on server


KDHE and Software Developer


November, 2005


Install prototype software on server


Software Developer


December, 2006


Conduct internal testing of prototype software




January, 2006


Conduct beta-testing of prototype software


KDHE, Software Developer, Industry Partners


February, 2006


Modify prototype software in response to stakeholder feedback


Software Developer


March, 2006


Make final software available to regulated community




May, 2006


Survey software users to identify any remaining problems




June, 2006


Prepare report summarizing project results so benefits can be shared with other state and local agencies




July, 2006

Expected Benefit:

This project has the potential to significantly improve the construction permitting process for the selected industrial categories.

Companies will be able to obtain air quality construction permits quickly so they can begin construction. The time to obtain a construction permit would be reduced from our current 30 day target to a one to two day time frame. This could have a significant economic impact for the affected industry sectors. Other businesses will also benefit from availability of permit writers for their projects, and we hope to reduce issuance time for those permits as well. KDHE staff will be able to spend a greater amount of review time on more complex permits, and on permits which have a greater environmental impact.


The software developed in this project should be easily tailored for use in other states. We envision that the algorithm framework developed will be very flexible and will allow for the incorporation of varying regulatory language requirements between states when dealing with similar federal regulations that many businesses are subject to. For example, every state in the country is likely to have facilities subject to 40 CFR Part 60 Subpart OOO, Standards of Performance for Nonmetallic Mineral Processing Plants (rock crushers). Once the software algorithm identifies a source of this type, the software will identify the appropriate regulatory language and assemble it into permit form. Other states would only need to modify the appropriate permitting language for this industrial sector in their state. The key here is the algorithm and framework for pulling a permit together will be flexible and should be easily customized to incorporate other states’ regulatory language requirements.

Budget: Removed by EPA

Key Performers:

The Bureau of Air and Radiation will be the lead on the project. The following person will be the KDHE contact for this project:

Mindy Bowman, 785-296-6421

The following KDHE personnel will also be involved in the project:

David Peter, 785-296-1104
Amer Safadi, 785-296-1993
Victor Cooper, 785-296-1561
Cheryl Evans, 785-296-1574

Information Technology Department

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