Lean   Government
                                          South Carolina
                                  Stormwater Permit Process
                                     Lean Event Case Study

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) administers the State's stormwater
management program and manages the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program.
The NPDES program requires all construction sites disturbing more than one acre to obtain stormwater permit coverage.
In September 2009, with support from U.S. EPA Region 4, SCDHEC conducted a Lean value stream mapping (VSM) event
to streamline the construction stormwater permitting process and improve the completeness and accuracy of submittals.
In the existing process, the State was receiving incomplete and inaccurate construction permit applications resulting in
multiple phone calls,  emails, and meetings between the permit applicant and SCDHEC staff and thereby increasing the
time it takes to approve or permit a project.  Since incomplete applications were accepted by SCDHEC, applicants had
become accustomed to submitting incomplete data.
The objectives of the three-day VSM event were to: clarify the stormwater permit process, design a more standardized
process for staff and applicants, meet the needs of the applicants, and meet the needs of SCDHEC staff. During the Lean
event, participants identified process improvements that will reduce lead time from its current state of 8-47 days down to
a future state of 5-10 days. They created standardized templates to improve submittal accuracy as part of the improved
future state, which is anticipated to reduce application submittal backlog from go to 25.

The new process developed in the event is anticipated to yield the following results:
   •   Reduced lead time for processing of applications from 8-47 days to 5-10 days
   •   Increased employee satisfaction with the process from an average rating of 4.7 to 9.5 out of 10
   •   Reduced the backlog of application submittals from goto 25
   •   Increased the percentage of value-added time from 1.7-3 percent to 9-18 percent

During the event, the team developed standardized templates to support the new process, including:
   •   A completely new and more standardized application form as well as an application guide to assist developers

   •   A standard review template for application reviewers that includes key questions to look for to verify the accuracy/
       completeness of an application
Scope of the Lean Project

Project Scope:  NPDES Construction Site Storm Water Permitting Permit Process from the receipt of a permit appli-
cation to approval  of the application

Goals of the Lean Event

•  Increase quality of submittals from o percent correct and accurate to go percent
•  Reduce overall lead time from as much as 47 days to less than 20 days
•  Improve employee morale

Process Changes

During this VSM event, SCDHEC participants developed "current state" and "future state" maps of the process and an
implementation plan. Participants came up with the following key process improvement areas for the NPDES
construction site storm water permitting process.

    •   Improve the submittal accuracy by developing clear templates that serve to standardize the way the
       submittal is assembled and to request that the applicant provide all of the necessary information needed for
       SCDHEC review and approval.
    •   Work with the IT professionals to enable direct import of data from the permit application into the SCDHEC
       database, Environmental Facilities Information System (EFIS). The database can be modified so that staff
       can better organize incoming data and see samples of required data in permit applications. These changes
       will significantly improve the quality of the data quality coming in.
    •   Standardize the review process and provide the project managers a clear standardized way to review the
       submittal. Staff and permit applications are interested in knowing that the process is repeatable and
       predictable—no matter who submits an application or application type, or no matter who in SCDHEC is
       reviewing the application, each time the process will be the same.
    •   Work with no more than two submittals at a time and meet daily for 10 minutes to discuss any issues or
       problems that arise.
    •   Develop visual status boards to measure and track performance and status.
    •   Explore electronic submission, e-signature and e-payment in order to streamline the process, improve data
       quality; reduce paperwork, paper and time; and, improve customer and employee satisfaction.
    •   Develop a standardized Coastal Zone Consistency (CZC) certification that will become part of the submittal
       package. The CZC only applies to applications that affect coastal waters and this is an added review process
       to the application.  This certification will enable developers to quickly indicate whether there are any coastal
       zone consistency issues.


As of March 2010, six months after the Lean event, the SCDHEC teams had completed a template for their
Stormwater Management and Sediment Control Plan, were working on the CZC template, and were continuing to
work on EFIS.  Other implementation activities include stakeholder outreach with frequent permit applicants to review
the templates and explain the streamlined process. These activities were underway as of March 2010.
  For More
United States
Environmental Protection
                             EPA Region 4
                               Latoya D. Miller, EPA Region 4, (404) 562-9885,  miller.latoya@epa.gov
                               Suganthi Simon, EPA Region 4, (404) 562-9384, simon.suganthi@epa.gov
                              EPA Lean Government Initiative
                               Jamie Burnett, EPA OPEI, (202) 566-2305, burnett.jamie@epa.gov
                               Kimberly Green-Goldsborough, EPA OPEI, (202) 566-2355,
                                     Office of Policy,
                                     Economics and Innovation
    July 2010