Leading the Way

On July 1, 2018, DEQ embarked on a five-year mission to boldly go where no state agency had gone before – putting SERVICE at the forefront of all we do – Satisfying customers, Engaging employees, Reducing costs, adding Value, Improving operations and efficiencies, fostering Creativity and innovation, and exhibiting Excellence. With input from those we regulate and the general public, we took a hard, introspective look at where we can improve and our first strategic plan was born. We call this plan Leading the Way because it is our roadmap for the next five years to lead the way in state government to be a more efficient and customer-friendly agency while continuing our primary responsibility of protecting Oklahoma’s environment.

The input we received from the public, those we regulate, and other state agencies was vitally important in developing Leading the Way and it is important that we provide feedback on our progress. This chart will be updated about every three months so you can follow our efforts to improve. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please AskDEQ.

Goal 1. Place SERVICE at the forefront of agency planning and execution, internal communications, and interactions with citizens, businesses, and our local, state and federal counterparts.
Project Description Planned Completion Date Status Progress Notes
1.1 – Complete optimization of agency programs DEQ will undertake a thorough evaluation of most agency programs to identify areas of inefficiency so that costs can be reduced and customer service improved. 6/30/2024 In progress DEQ programs have been identified and evaluation criteria developed. Two programs were selected as pilot projects. One pilot project and final report has been completed. Pilot review for the second program has been completed and final report is under internal review. Review of other programs will begin after completion of both pilot projects and results are reviewed.
1.2 – Release new FOCUS Document FOCUS is the agency’s annual work plan outlining tasks to be undertaken to fulfill the agency’s mission and meet EPA grant obligations. This Project is to align FOCUS with Leading the Way. Completed Project completed with release of FY 2020 FOCUS on 7/1/2019.
1.3 – In conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and subject to available funding, complete economic impacts of agency programs. In June 2016, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce released its report on the positive economic impacts resulting from 44 DEQ-led Brownfields projects across Oklahoma. This project is to expand on the Brownfield effort to look at the positive impacts of other DEQ programs. 6/30/2020 In progress

In consultation with Department of Commerce (DOC), Divisions have identified the following programs for analysis.

AQD – Permitting

ECLS – Complaints program

LPD – Armory cleanup

SELS – PWS customer assistance

WQD – DWSRF funding

DOC considering Armory cleanup and DWSRF funding as initial programs for study. Responsible Divisions will then work with DOC to devise evaluation criteria. Projects will be evaluated as funding allows.

1.4 – Develop a DEQ SERVICE Standard to improve responsiveness to internal and external customers and establish a process to continually evaluate customer service. One of the main goals of Leading the Way is to improve customer service. This project is to develop a DEQ standard of excellence in customer service. Completed

Customer Service Workgroup (CSW) of DEQ staff has created a set of customer service standards and is developing a year-long campaign to introduce those standards to the agency. Theme is “PEAK Performance” – Professionalism, Efficiency, Atmosphere, Knowledge. Campaign was approved by the Deputy Executive Director and kicked off 7/1/2019.

About DEQ webpage has been modified to further highlight the agency’s commitment to PEAK Performance. 

1.5 – Implement at least two (2) projects to improve employee engagement in agency operations. DEQ employees have a wealth of knowledge and can offer great suggestions for improving operations. The agency has never had a formal mechanism to tap into that knowledge and receive great ideas to make DEQ even better. By June 30th of each year In progress Workgroup of Division representatives has been assembled to work on this project. Recommendations have been developed and are under internal review.
1.6 – From the customer outreach efforts requested in the LTW surveys, complete at least two per year. In the surveys conducted during the development of Leading the Way, DEQ customers identified many types of outreach they would like to receive from DEQ. This project is to bring many of those to fruition. Ongoing In progress

FY 2020 Projects 

AQD – outreach to gasoline service stations subject to the NESHAP under 40 CFR 63, Subpart CCCCCC. 

LPD – Outreach to tire dealers regarding new fees and mosquito prevention. 

OEA – Training on the Clean Marina program & availability of Clean Vessel Act grant funds. 

1.7 – From the general public outreach efforts requested in the LTW surveys, complete at least two per year. In the surveys conducted during the development of Leading the Way, the general public identified many types of outreach they would like to receive from DEQ. This project is to bring many of those to fruition. Ongoing In progress

FY 2020 Projects 

AQD – Booth at the Fall 2019 Weather Festival. 

ECLS – Social media post on maintenance of aerobic septic systems. 

OEA – Social media campaigns explaining DEQ programs, the science behind everyday things, recycling promotion, pollution prevention, water conservation. 

1.8 – Continuously review LTW progress. Reviewing Leading the Way progress with agency leadership is important to ensure projects stay on track. Quarterly In progress Meetings with Directors and Assistant Directors are being held quarterly.
Goal 2. Establish efficient and transparent permitting processes to produce timely, cost-effective, and enforceable permits.
Project Description Planned Completion Date Status Progress Notes
2.1 – Reduce agency average time to issue permits, licenses and other authorizations by 25%. A chief complaint received from our customers is the length of time it can take to obtain permits or other authorizations. This project is to evaluate and streamline processes to achieve an Agency-average 25% reduction in the length of time to obtain permits. 6/30/2024 In progress Workgroup of Division Chief Engineers established. Reviewing current timelines for issuing permits to establish baseline from which the 25% reduction will be measured. Next steps are to set baseline, develop a strategy for achieving the objective, obtaining approval to implement, then monitoring to ensure progress toward the goal of 25% reduction.
Goal 3. Maintain a responsive, equitable and timely environmental complaints process and emergency response system.
Project Description Planned Completion Date Status Progress Notes
3.1 – Resolve 100% of complaints within 90 days of receipt by DEQ. Maintain the DEQ goal of resolving all complaints within 90 days of receipt by DEQ. Ongoing In progress ECLS continuously monitors the age of DEQ complaints. In FY 2019, all complaints were resolved within 90 days or an approved extension period.
3.2 – Review current complaint resolution standard (100% in 90 days) to see if it should be revised. The complaint resolution standard of 90 days has been in place since DEQ was formed. This is to review whether or not the standard should be revised. Complete New complaints resolution SOP signed 9/23/2019.
3.3 – Ensure EMS is updated by all staff assigned a complaint. EMS is DEQ’s system for inputting complaints and tracking progress toward resolution. This Project maintains DEQ’s goal to update EMS every two weeks to ensure complaints are progressing toward resolution. Every 2 weeks In progress Ongoing activity.
3.4 – Ensure consistency within the EMS complaint process. ECLS will perform annual training of complaint coordinators to ensure information is entered into EMS in a timely and consistent manner and review/update DEQ’s complaint procedure as needed. Annually In progress FY 2020 training planned to be completed by 1/31/2020.  
3.5 – Update DEQ Emergency Response Plan & Procedure. DEQ maintains an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) describing how the agency will deal with natural disasters and other environmental emergencies. It should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed. Complete New ERP signed 9/17/2019.
3.6 – Ensure multi-divisional communication during Emergency Response events DEQ maintains a standing Multi-Division Incident Response (MDIR) Team to ensure communications between Divisions during emergencies. Bi-monthly In progress MDIR meets every two weeks.
Goal 4. Ensure agency rules and compliance monitoring/enforcement processes are transparent, easy to understand, and fairly administered.
Project Description Planned Completion Date Status Progress Notes
4.1 – Improve consistency of rule interpretations. One of the chief concerns of the regulated community identified in the LTW surveys is lack of consistency in regulatory interpretation. This project is to address this concern. 12/31/2020 In progress

FY 2020 Activities 

AQD – Revised Open Burning rules went into effect 9/17/2019. 

LPD – Workgroup has developed recommendations, currently under legal review. 

WQD – WQD & LPD have identified several areas where Chapter 690 rules need revisions. 

Chapter 710 rules passed 1/7/2020 WQMAC and planned to be presented at the Feb 2020 EQB meeting. 

4.2 – Complete a targeted review of DEQ statutes and rules

DEQ recognizes that some of our statutory & regulatory requirements put in place years ago may not be adequate for today’s environmental issues. This project is to review current regulatory and statutory requirements, with the input of those we regulate, and identify where improvements can be made.

Additionally, this project is to review agency rules that incorporate rules from other programs to ensure the cross-referenced rules are still applicable.

6/30/2024 In progress

FY 2020 Activities 

Evaluation criteria for Program Optimization Project (LTW Project 1.1) includes a review of statutory/regulatory changes needed to improve programs. As these are identified, they will be listed here.  

LPD – Workgroup has developed recommendations, currently under legal review. 

WQD – WQD & LPD have identified several areas where Chapter 690 rules need revisions. 

Chapter 710 rules passed 1/7/2020 WQMAC and planned to be presented at the Feb 2020 EQB meeting. 

4.3 – Complete statutory/rule changes identified Once statutory and rule changes are identified, they will need to go through their respective processes to become final. We hope to have all suggested changes in effect by the end of this strategic plan. Removed Removed as a separate objective as it is implied in 4.2 that once rule/statutory changes are identified, we would work toward putting those in place.
4.4 – Develop plan to enhance compliance with regulatory requirements through means other than enforcement. Many times, lack of compliance is a result of a business owner not knowing the regulatory requirements or understanding them. This project is for each Division with regulatory responsibilities to develop plans for improving compliance rates without resorting to enforcement as a first response. 6/30/2024 In progress

Each Division with regulatory responsibilities established a workgroup for this Project. Workgroups identified areas where compliance can be improved and ways to provide outreach to affected industries. Deputy Executive Director has approved all Division plans. Divisions will now implement their plans over the course of LTW.

Focus areas by Division:

AQD – chromium electroplaters outreach to begin approx. Fall 2019.


Total Retention Lagoons
Minor Water Systems
Onsite Systems for Homeowners.
Hazard Mitigation fact sheet.


Hazardous waste program – new generator rules and common inspection violations

Radiation program – Industrial x-ray

Solid Waste Program – monthly/quarterly tonnage reports, common violations found during inspections, seminar to be held at WEP training planned for 1/2020.

Tire program – Conduct annual meetings with processors, identify common tire dealer violations and develop post cards to assist. Develop fillable inspection forms to help dealers see violations.


Laboratory accreditation – new rules with additional incentives for compliance went into effect 9/15/2019.

Small PWS – begin two year pilot program to assist small PWS with compliance.


Disinfection Byproducts Rule – disinfection byproducts rule outreach planned to be conducted in three phases over next three to four years. Phase I, identify systems, complete. Have met with all affected systems. Phase II – work with wholesalers. Phase III – work with other systems. Meetings planned Fall 2019.

4.5 – Complete a cross-divisional rule integrity evaluation Many agency rules incorporate rules from other DEQ programs. This project will evaluate these areas to make sure the incorporated rules are still applicable. Removed This project has been incorporated into 4.2
Goal 5. Use technology to improve agency transparency, customer compliance with environmental laws, and information dissemination.
Project Description Planned Completion Date Status Progress Notes
5.1 – Complete deployment of new DEQ web site. One of the chief concerns expressed in the LTW surveys is the poor quality of DEQ’s website. DEQ has been working with a vendor to modernize and improve our website. Complete New website went live 7/15/2019!
5.2 – Implement new or improved online services. Respondents for the Leading the Way surveys identified a number of online services they would like to see DEQ improve or develop. This project is to address those suggestions Ongoing In progress A list of all current online services DEQ offers has been developed, as well as a list of services requested from the surveys. Requested services undergoing needs assessment/cost analysis. Result of this analysis will inform next steps.
5.3 – Implement ePermitting for all DEQ licenses and permits. Many respondents to the Leading the Way surveys requested DEQ have more permit application processes online. This project is to address those requests. 6/30/2024 Planned Work on this project will begin once the permit timeline Project 2.1 is further along.
5.4 – Make DEQ records available online. Many respondents to the Leading the Way surveys requested more online access to DEQ records. This project is to develop online access for DEQ records that are not confidential or should be excluded from online access for other valid reasons. 6/30/2024 In progress

DEQ is modernizing records management by working with a vendor to deploy an enterprise level solution called OnBase. This solution will maintain existing functionality and support future enhancements that better provide document access to our customers.  

Discovery process currently underway to ensure electronic document migration into OnBase is done correctly. Once discovery is complete, document migration can begin, followed by QC to ensure migration was successful or migration issues are resolved. 

(Updated 1/9/2020)