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DNR Online Application System for Air Quality Permits Moves Forward

  • 6/19/2018 3:06:00 PM
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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has received an appropriation of $954,000 from the Technology Reinvestment Fund (SF 2414, 87th Iowa General Assembly) to implement an electronic air permit application system, e-Application. On June 19, DNR received approval from the Environmental Protection Commission to move forward with the project and enter into a contract with enfoTech & Consulting, Inc., of North Brunswick, New Jersey.

A modern electronic application system will allow Iowa businesses to receive permits through a less expensive, less time consuming, and more accurate application process. Permit applicants will no longer have to enter duplicative data, as the new system will be pre-populated with data. Combined with new data validation checks before the application is accepted, the system will also allow for more accurate applications and less processing time. Instead, DNR staff can focus on the technical aspects of the application: evaluating whether proposed production and pollution control equipment will meet specific emissions limits required by law.

The DNR needs a more efficient method for companies to apply for air quality permits. The DNR’s existing electronic application system is more than 17 years old and is seldom used (94 percent of applications are received on paper). It relies on outdated software, is difficult to use, and does not meet minimum federal electronic reporting standards.

A Request for Proposals (RFP) process to solicit and receive bids from vendors was held in 2016.  After a very successful competitive bidding and evaluation process, a Notice of Intent to Award was issued to enfoTech & Consulting on Feb. 6, 2017. For the remainder of 2017, the DNR worked closely with the Governor’s Office and the Iowa General Assembly towards an appropriation to fund e-Application.

The DNR expects the system to be online in 2019. Stakeholders may be asked to test the system before it is finalized.