Description of Initiative:
ECLIPS is the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Land Quality Section’s new e-Permitting Web Application. It is designed to give the State’s Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program and NPDES Construction Stormwater Program an online system that allows regulated customers (developers, contractors, and designers) to electronically submit plans and fees to the agency for review and approval. These customers can track their application status during the application and review process. It also provides capabilities for the Land Quality Section (LQS) staff to manage all projects through online plan review and approval, inspections, and enforcement, which can be performed in the office or the field through use of desktop computers, laptop computers, and tablets.
On average, the agency reviews more than 2,000 new project applications per year and inspects nearly 12,000 active sites per year. It can now receive information via web portal and send information electronically via e-mail using this one system. ECLIPS also provides Delegated Local Government Erosion Control Programs with the ability to manage their program statistics and submit monthly reports which are used to provide information for state and federal reports.
Applications for these Plan Approvals and Permits were traditionally delivered in person or mailed to seven regional LQS offices, where they were processed manually in every case. Customers still have the option to use this procedure as it is hybridized to allow both methods, but as this new system is advertised more through workshops, LQS staff expect the new system’s popularity to grow and to eventually phase out the traditional method. The traditional method includes manually checking for application completeness, calculating and processing review fees, entering data into multiple databases, and manually typing each permit. ECLIPS provides the option to completely automate this work. When fully implemented and used by customers, the manual administrative work by LQS staff will be reduced significantly, and customer and state shipping/mail costs could be almost completely eliminated. LQS expects full implementation to reduce plan review processing time by at least two days, which is the minimum time for mail delivery for receipt and notification of approval (note: this is just a minimum, and these two days represent a 10% time reduction for customers).
ECLIPS saves customers considerable resources in the printing of hard copy plans, handling, shipping/mailing, and staff time. LQS staff will be able to perform faster plan reviews on their computer screens, reduce the need for paper, reduce file storage space requirements, work with one database system instead of several, reduce administrative time, and increase available time for providing technical assistance for customers and for performing inspections.
Results to Date:
This program has been operating since June 2014, and LQS plans statistical analysis and reporting to the Department and Legislature over the subsequent year toward consideration of developing and expanding this system for implementation in other environmental programs.
Director of the Division of Energy, Mineral, and Land Resources
North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources