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EASY Air—a success in its first year

  • 12/10/2020 11:59:00 AM
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DES MOINES—“Best system in the country,” says one EASY Air user, a consultant from Cumming.

As EASY Air, DNR’s Environmental Application System, passed its first anniversary Dec. 5, DNR staff looked to evaluate the success of the new online system for submitting air quality permits.

As with any new system, there have been issues to surmount, but DNR focused on listening to users’ feedback, meeting customer needs, enhancing the system to meet those needs, and providing training and outreach. The outcome has been inspiring.

“We’ve been impressed by industry’s quick adoption of EASY Air showing that our staff’s efforts to educate and meet customer needs has paid off,” said Marnie Stein, project manager. In November, 74 percent of construction permits came in using EASY Air’s online process. Another 63 percent of Title V permit applications moved from paper to online submittals.

Starting out, about 95 percent of construction permits came in on paper, with a mere 5 percent submitted online.

DNR staff worked to inform permit applicants about the new system, providing six webinar trainings, presentations at industry meetings, tester training and updates at air quality Client Contact meetings—directly reaching more than 500 people. Staff prepared 16 fact sheets, forms or other guidance documents, and informed more than 2,967 subscribers in each of 25 Air Quality Technical newsletters.

As training and information about EASY Air spread, so did its usage. Six months after start up, usage had climbed with 50 percent of all construction permits submitted online.

DNR continued to improve the system, rolling out new features:

  • the ability to rescind a construction permit when equipment is taken out of service,
  • the ability to submit start of operation and start of construction notices, and
  • reducing the information required to request a Title V modification.

With these enhancements in place, by mid-November 2020, Mike Freese, a consultant from Cumming, reached out to Stein, looking for help to meet a looming permit deadline for a client.

At the end of the project, Freese said, “We have found Easy Air to be great … and very easy to use.  Wish other states that we have done recent permitting would transition. Best system in the country.”

DNR’s air quality staff continue working to enhance EASY Air—hoping to make the system better and more comprehensive for those permit applicants using EASY Air and those who haven’t yet tried the online system.