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Lean at Ecology

Improvement Projects




Electronic certified mail
  • Reduce the cost of sending certified mail.
  • Make the certified mail process easier for employees and customers
  • Total savings for HQ and SWRO for 592 letters = $1,681.28. Included in this cost savings is 49.33 hours of staff time.
Hanford E-Permit
  • Reduce the cost of producing copies of the Hanford Facility Dangerous Waste Permit.
  •  Improve access to permit requirements for employees and customers.
  • Decreased staff costs from an average of $38,935.00 for 22 hard copies to an average of $5,309.00 for 3 hard copies in August 2015 with the Revision 8c Permit.
  • Decreased supply costs from an average* of $40,243.89 for 22 hard copies to an average of $5,487.00 for 3 hard copies in August 2015 with the Revision 8c Permit.   These savings occur a minimum of 4 times per year.
Improve the Lab Accreditation process
  • Tracking Proficiency Testing (PT) for renewing lab accreditations - Instead of tracking and summarizing PT results manually, using multi-page paper PT reports combined with multi-page paper tracking sheets, new software automatically tracks and summarizes PT results electronically.
  • On-site Audits of Labs - Instead of using paper checklists, auditors can use their tablet PC to enter into electronic checklists their Audit findings, recommendations, and observations. The data is automatically tabulated in an Excel spreadsheet, instead of typing them into a Word document. The spreadsheet is emailed to the audited lab; the lab enters responses, and emails it back to the lead auditor. The lab responses are tracked in the AAS database, so follow up is ensured.  
  • $50,000 in salary saved, per year, by reducing the amount of time staff needed to do the work under the old process from the equivalent of one full time position to a half time position. 
Watershed Health Monitoring Electronic Forms
  • $50,000 in salary saved, per year, by reducing the amount of time staff needed for data entry-related and quality assurance work.
  •  Significantly higher-quality data due to the built-in error checking that more-reliably and thoroughly catches errors than the older manual process.
Streamlining rule-making templates
  • Rule-making templates that are consistent, clear, and efficient while meeting legal requirements.
Improve IT Equipment Tracking
  • A centralized automated process, system, or method used to track and manage IT equipment from purchase to surplus.
Agency Billing and Revenue Tracking
  • A process for billing fees and tracking revenue that is consistent, standard and predictable for all Ecology programs and their customers.
Shoreline Master Program Records Management
  • Public records requests for Shoreline Master Program amendments are easily fulfilled in a timely way with minimal impact on SEA and agency staff.
Construction Stormwater Permit
  • Reduce the number of calendar days from receipt of initial application to complete application.
  • Reduce number of days from complete application to notification of coverage.
  • Increase the percentage of permit coverages completed within 45 days or less as measured from receipt of a complete application to the date the coverage letter is mailed.
Pollution Prevention Fee
  • A Pollution Prevention Planning fee system that is accurate with complete data, quick to generate fee billing information, and agile when report amendments force rework.
Employee Recruitment
  • Gain consistency and standardization for consulting with our customers regarding recruitment .
  • Ensure information on website is up-to-date and accurate to better serve our customers.
Oil Spill Contingency Plan
  • Reduce the average time between plan submission and first review.
  • Reduce the average time between plan submission and final approval.
  • Reach 80 percent approval rate for first plan submissions.
Managing Web Content
  • Develop a standard agency process for managing the life cycle of web content.
  • Establish clear and consistent roles and responsibilities.
  • Eliminate confusion about decision-making authority around web content by establishing clear and consistent roles and responsibilities for all involved in the web content management process.
  • Develop criteria for deciding what format is appropriate for web content: HTML web page, publication, social media, etc.
Agency Grant Management Programs
  • Identify standard work.
  • Document standard work.
  • Eliminate waste.
Air Permits for Small Business
  • Double the percentage of applications that are complete upon submittal (i.e., increase from 13 percent to 26 percent).
  • Reduce the time spent completing an application by 10% (i.e., reduce median from 53 days to 48 days).
  • Reduce element tracking locations by 75 percent (i.e., reduce from 16 locations to 4 locations).
  • Improve customer satisfaction by 10 percent (i.e., increase survey average from 81 percent to 89 percent).
Remedial Action Grant Spending
  • Establish target condition for cleanup decision-making and resultant expenditures and grant reimbursement of publicly funded cleanup work.
  • Reduce, for all publicly or privately financed cleanups, the time (measured in months or years) it takes to move through the cleanup process.
  • Improve, for publicly funded cleanup sites, the accuracy of budget requests to project spending plans so that re-appropriation balances are reduced.
Dangerous Waste Inspections 
  • Streamline the dangerous waste inspection process while maintaining inspection quality.
  • Reduce staff time spent pre and post inspection activities See a 10-15 percent increase in the number of dangerous waste inspections (based on current levels).
  • Contribute to a 30 percent reduction in finding a significant violation during an inspection (based on current levels).
Biosolids Permit
  • Decrease the time required to approve or deny an application under the Biosolids General Permit.
  • Increase consistency across the state in terms of priorities, expectations, and permit conditions.
Oil Spill Violations
  • Reduce the Notice of Penalty (NOP) process time so that 85 percent of the NOP’s are issued by the established issue date goal.
  • Reduce the number of pending NOP enforcements by 30 percent in the first 9 months after implementation.
  • Increase staff understanding of the docket management system and NOP enforcement boilerplates.
Payroll Action
  • Reduce the time it takes to transfer paperwork from HR to Payroll.
  • Reduce paper and errors.
  • Improve workflow planning and communication.
Local Government Coordinated Prevention Grant Program
  • Decrease the time to get a CPG grant agreement offered by two months.
  • Reduce workdays per cycle from 132 to 88, based on the date guidelines are available.
Coordinated Prevention Grants: Reduce Payment Request Error Rate
  • Reduce the error rate on payment requests recipients being submit to Ecology for reimbursement by 20 percent.
  • Reduce the amount of errors corrected by the Grant Tracking Coordinator by having grant officers catch the majority of errors.
Upper Kittitas Water Budget Neutral Applicants
  • Reduce the number of days to process a Water Budget Neutral application.
Personnel Action
  • Eliminate duplication and streamline workflow.
Standard Water Right Permit Application Process
  • Reduce permit application backlog.
  •  Reduce the time it takes to make decisions on applications.
  •  Develop consistency across regional offices.
Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study Reports Review
  • Improve the timeliness of the overall process.
    • Reduce the back and forth review of documents.
    • Streamline decision-making.
Water Rights Cost Reimbursement Agreements
  • Decrease the amount of time to develop and implement a cost reimbursement agreement to 30 working days*.
    *Presuming applicant returns signed cost reimbursement agreement and deposit within 10 working days.
Trust Water Right Applications
  • Reduce the time to process prioritized trust water right applications* to 9 months.
    *Excluding Trust Water Donations, which should be processed much sooner than 9 months if they are considered priority work.