DEQ’s Environmental Cleanup Program is improving its operations in response to feedback from the business community, environmental consulting firms and other cleanup program participants and stakeholders. The improvement process focuses on the following goals:
- Establishing and communicating complete, clear expectations so that all parties have a shared understanding of a project’s desired outcomes and understand the process and potential costs for achieving those outcomes.
- Making timely decisions through development of clear guidelines for DEQ staff and responsible parties on evaluating both human and ecological risks, and managing uncertainty better when expediting cleanup actions.
- Building a new cleanup philosophy to promote cleanup of sites as efficiently as possible, and for the least amount of money, to achieve cleanup objectives.
Customer feedback survey
DEQ initiated annual surveys of Cleanup Program participants and their representatives in Fall 2012. The annual survey goals are to assess participants’ satisfaction with DEQ oversight of cleanup work, including releases from petroleum-leaking underground storage tanks and past releases of hazardous substances.
Fall 2012's survey found that, in general, about 75 percent of respondents rated DEQ performance in the above-listed areas as acceptable or favorable. Approximately 15 to 20 percent indicated some improvements were needed in most of the topic areas, and another five to 10 percent rated performance as poor. Topics associated with the poorest ratings included explaining and managing DEQ project oversight costs and decision-making.
DEQ conducted its second annual survey of Cleanup Program participants in Fall 2013. The survey's goal was to assess whether DEQ's internal training efforts are leading to improvements in participants' satisfaction with DEQ oversight of cleanup work, based on compared responses with the prior year's survey results. The 2013 electronic survey went to more than 600 individuals with active projects or projects that ended in the past year. Approximately 25 percent participated in 2013, about the same as the prior year. The survey requested feedback on accessibility of information, communications, project planning and collaboration, decision-making and costs. In general, survey responses in 2013 indicated a higher level of satisfaction with the cleanup program when compared to 2012 baseline results. While improvements were observed, DEQ project oversight costs and decision-making remain key areas to focus on.