U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Digitizing regulatory compliance
In pursuit of federal strategies aimed at delivering better digital services to citizens, the business community and partners, the EPA has undertaken several initiatives to transform its processes.
The Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP) serves an important role in helping the agency meet this mandate. In conjunction with other EPA offices, OCSPP is responsible for the regulation of toxics production, importation, distribution, and use in the United States.
The agency and OCSPP have teamed with CGI to implement new capabilities to enable more informed, timely and productive programs to improve health and environmental outcomes. Agile, user-centric projects are being deployed more rapidly and with greater stakeholder engagement to advance EPA’s digital transformation while reducing burdens on the regulated community. Following are three examples of such projects.
A single customer-centric window for pesticide applications
In the past, when pesticide producers sought to distribute a product or request a testing permit, they had to create an electronic dossier to submit to EPA. To streamline this process and promote meaningful data exchange between industry and government, EPA and CGI created the Pesticide Submission Portal (PSP). The portal was launched in just 60 days using agile methodologies, an existing shared services platform, open source technologies and a mobile-first approach. Frequent stakeholder and end-user feedback loops also were used to drive adoption. PSP has both improved regulatory compliance and enabled EPA to oversee compliance more efficiently. Key outcomes include:
- A 20% increase in submissions overall in the first seven months, and a 46% increase in electronic submissions, with 90% of electronic submissions coming via the portal
- Improved application tracking, application validation and data extraction
- Real time access to applications by multiple users allows for parallel processing, reducing the time it takes to process an application from days to just a few hours
- Projected savings to EPA are estimated to be over $1.5 million a year once fully adopted internally and externally by users
As a result of these outcomes, PSP was nominated for two prestigious federal government innovation awards.
Streamlining the regulatory process of lead reporting
EPA’s Lead Abatement and Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) rules aim to protect the public from lead-based paint hazards through abatement and RRP activities. These rules require lead abatement and renovation and repair and painting firms to apply for certification. The paper-based application process was lengthy and costly, with firms sometimes waiting months for approval. In 2015, as tens of thousands of abatement and RRP firms were required to recertify, EPA executives sought to significantly improve resource efficiency for the program while reducing the burden on industry by providing a streamlined, electronic and mobile-ready solution. EPA partnered with CGI to deliver the solution which:
Dramatically cuts industry’s burden:
- Applications take minutes instead of days to complete and submit
- Applications processing time takes 12 days instead of 4 weeks
Generates numerous benefits for EPA:
- 95% of submissions are conducted electronically, versus 40% before the initiative
- 3 tons of paper applications have been eliminated
- Nearly $1.2 million in savings are projected over the next 10 years.
This program also was nominated for a prestigious federal government innovation award.
Streamlining pesticide data accessibility
EPA’s Pesticides Data and Label Matching Project (PDA LMP) is designed to transform the decades-old process of inspecting pesticide labels for compliance. The new mobile, web-accessible application—used by EPA, states, regulated entities and citizens—improves data standardization and digitization and increases productivity across the regulator community. It also uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to convert non-standard images of labels to standardized text to confirm the registered status of a product via mobile web service integration. The project team conducted numerous outreach efforts to industry organizations and federal and state enforcement entities, and held workshops to better understand the realities and challenges of inspectors. Key benefits of the Pesticide Label Matcher mobile application for EPA include:
- Cuts the inspection process from several hours to minutes via mobile access
- Increases the number of product labels inspected
- Reduces program complexity and cost while improving its efficiency
- Provides greater protection of human health and the environment by increasing the number of labels containing accurate information.