DEEP: 2008 - DEP Launches LEAN Program

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Environmental Accomplishments of the Past 40 Years

DEP Launches LEAN Program


In the summer of 2008, DEP launched a program known as LEAN, which was designed to identify and minimize wasted time and effort in permitting, enforcement and other programs of the agency. LEAN is a process improvement approach that identifies and minimizes wasted time and effort. Through week-long "Kaizen" events, staff teams identify needed improvements and develop a one-year plan to implement the improvements.

As of March 2010, DEP has conducted 19 LEAN projects that addressed processes related to environmental quality and conservation as well as business administration. Areas that have undergone LEAN projects include permitting, inspection, and enforcement in air, waste, and water pollution control programs, trout stocking, boating safety, requisition and purchasing, health and safety, information management, radiation registration, natural diversity database review and forest management.  

Through the LEAN initiative, CT DEP is increasing the efficiency of the agency by eliminating wasteful and time consuming steps from various processes – all while maintaining the state’s strong environmental standards. The additional environmental benefit of LEAN is that improvements allow the agency to focus on its true mission of protecting the state’s environment and free staff resources to address new environmental challenges.

Through LEAN, extraordinary reductions have been achieved in the time it takes to review permit applications and complete enforcement actions. These gains are noteworthy because they show that CT DEP is working to fulfill its important program responsibilities in a thorough manner and that the agency is striving to provide more timely and consistent service to the public it serves.

In this era of tight budgets CT DEP’s LEAN initiative is finding a way to put more people on the frontlines of environmental protection. As more innovative and efficient practices are implemented through LEAN, CT DEP is able to make more effective use of staff to:

  • Address New Mandates – such as implementing a statewide E-Waste program, developing the state’s strategies for carbon emissions reductions and climate "adaptation," and to meet EPA requirements for continued improvements in air and water quality.
  • Tackle Emerging Issues – such as the potential impacts of pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs) and toxics.
  • Promote Environmental Sustainability – through increased public outreach and improved coordination with agencies responsible for economic development, energy, transportation and public health decisions.

Examples of Results of LEAN Events

Lean Team/Project

Pre-Lean Goals

Post-Lean Results

Reduction or Improvement

Water Enforcement Program (Lean I - completed)


Reduce violation response review time by 50%

(60 to 30 days)

Average = 11.4 days


Reduce time to draft enforcement document by 70%

(387 to 120 days)

Average = 96 days


Reduce Notice of Violation (NOV) backlog by 75%

(998 NOVs to 250 NOVs )

Closed out 776 NOVs; Remaining 222 NOVs


Office of Long Island Sound Permit Program (Lean I – completed)

Reduce processing time of initial response letter by 85%

(205 to 30 days)

Average = 24 days


Reduce processing time from application receipt to permit decision by 78%

(566 to 125 days)

Average = 71 days


Solid Waste Enforcement Program (Lean II - completed)

Establish electronic tracking mechanism for solid waste enforcement cases

Electronic system in place making for more efficient oversight and completion of cases


Reduce open enforcement cases by 10%

(651 to 586 cases)

Case load = 478


Inland Water Resources Division, Permitting Program (Lean II – completed)

Reduce response times back to applicants by 40%

Sufficiency review process being completed within 90 days (83% of the time)


Collapse 7 regulatory programs into 2 technical disciplines

7 programs to 2 technical disciplines


Reduce backlog of pending applications

(300 pending applications)

Backlog of pending applications = 132


Storage Tank Compliance Inspection Program (Lean II - completed)

Increase number of inspections from 20 to 100 per month

Exceeded goal = averaged 133 inspections per month


Wastewater Discharge Permitting Program (NPDES) (Lean IV – project end May 2010)

Reduce time to process permits by 70%

(925 to 284 days)

Current average = 135 days (sample size is two application)


More Information

DEP's LEAN Initiative


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