Electronic Permitting (ePermitting) is a web-based capability that allows private entities to apply for a clean water land disturbance permit, draw a polygon for their land disturbance activity, pay for the application, certify the application, and receive a Missouri State Operating Permit for land disturbance activities. Currently, ePermitting issues only land disturbance general permits, but it may eventually encompass nearly all of the other general permits that Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) issues, and may include other functions like terminations or modifications, and site-specific applications.
In April 2011, the Department began the process of developing the ePermitting system by conducting several monthly meeting discussing statutes, regulations, policies, and procedures. The ePermitting Development group also dissected the many different process paths that existed in each of the five regional offices of the Department and the various scenarios encountered over multiple years. This group contained permit writers, inspectors, support staff, fiscal management staff, data management staff, and managers.
In August 2011, the Department started the process of developing and implementing Phase I of the ePermitting project. MDNR used a phased approach for ePermitting, as this would be the best path forward to having a successful ePermitting program. Phase II is focused on many other types of general and storm water permits as well as renewals, modifications, and terminations. During Phase I development, Department staff, Information Technology Support Division staff, and a third-party contractor met on a weekly basis to discuss the user interface, background logic, procedures needed, creation of new policies or changes to existing policies, training, and testing.
During Phase I, MDNR found the existing user interface for its GIS Editor program was not user-friendly and that the base map was ultimately too slow. Therefore, at the risk of pushing the implementation date back, the Department adopted a new mapping interface and statewide base map that uses 1:24K imagery on the 2010 National Agricultural Imagery Program, which was created by the Missouri Office of Administration’s Information Technology Support Division – Office of Geospatial Information. By creating a more user-friendly interface and a statewide base map, the user interface is very friendly, and background calculations for hydrological and locational data using the National Elevation Dataset and the National Hydrography Dataset flow lines is very fast.
With the mapping interface and new statewide base map, users can draw a polygon that fits their land disturbance activity. From this user drawn polygon, ePermitting calculates all relevant hydrological and locational data that is typically used in operating permits and creates a new type of permitted feature called Storm Water Reference Point. All of the hydrological, locational, and permitted feature data then become part of the permit record and are documented on a map that is part of the issued permit.
Results to Date:
The ePermitting web-based tool became available to the public in June 2012. It had a 60-day grace period, during which the Department accepted paper applications. On and after September 1, 2012, land disturbance paper applications were to be no longer processed unless they met specific criteria. As of July 2012, seven land disturbance permits had been issued from ePermitting, which is approximately 15% of land disturbance permits issued from June 26 to July 6, 2012, most of which were older paper applications. This percentage will increase significantly as new applications are handled through the system.
By implementing ePermitting, the majority of permits issued by the Department will now be automated. During any given year, the DNR has between 6,000 and 8,000 land disturbance permits in effect, which counts for nearly one half of issued permits by the Water Protection Program. Upon further implementations of future phases of ePermitting and related projects, Missouri’s permit universe that permit writers draft individually will be reduced from approximately 16,000 to fewer than 2,000.
To view the ePermitting system, the DNR suggests using its test site rather than the production for obvious reasons. Therefore, if you wish to see how the system works, please feel free to access the following link, which will take you to a program called the Citizen Application Gateway. Fill in all the required information, and please ensure that you click ePermitting toggle box on the information page. To access the test site, please use the URL: http://wwwtest2.dnr.mo.gov/modnrcag/.
To watch tutorial videos, please use this URL and scroll down to Video Tutorial Section at
Business Process Analyst, Division of Environmental Quality
Missouri Department of Natural Resources