By Brent Everett
The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) is committed to making our programs as open and transparent to the public as possible. That’s one reason my staff and I are proud of DERR’s Interactive Map, a web-based tool that helps the public locate information about Superfund sites, Brownfields, underground storage tanks and other areas with potential contamination. In keeping with the performance goals set forth in Governor Herbert’s SUCCESS Framework, we have been able to reduce public requests for documents by 64 percent and utilize our staff more efficiently and effectively.
Before we developed the Interactive Map, people who wanted to see documents about a particular site generally had to file requests for information through the Government Records Access and Management Act, or GRAMA, and physically come to our building. This was a time-consuming process for all involved. Now, with a few clicks of a mouse, people can pick a location and find information on the nature and extent of contamination and the status and progress of cleanups on the sites we oversee.
Although the Interactive Map first launched in the late 1990s, it’s only been recently that we have been able to link documents to sites on the map. This new feature has made the map a big hit, generating thousands of downloads by environmental consultants, real estate agents, businesses, and private citizens looking for information. The number of documents downloaded through the Interactive Map search tool continues to grow, with download requests coming from within Utah and other states nationally, and even other countries.
Here’s how it works:
Go to the DEQ website and click on the Interactive Map link. A disclaimer will pop up to let you know that the map contains a summary of information on sites regulated by DEQ and may contain errors. We’re scanning documents into the map every day, but there may be some gaps.
We recommend that you use the Interactive Map “Wizard” to navigate the site. For example, if you’d like to know if there are any hazardous materials or cleanup sites near where you live or work, go to “Select Layers” on the site navigation. Next, choose the map layer you’re interested in, such as “Land” and select from the categories listed for that layer. Click on “Go to next step” and type in the address and zip code. If you like, you can also search by city, county, or even statewide.
Click on “Search Address,” and an aerial map will appear with color-coded shapes for the sites that meet your search criteria. You can zoom in and out to get a better look at the various sites and find out their business names and exact locations.
Once you select a site, you will be able to read a summary of the site’s history, search for documents, download documents, or make a GRAMA request directly from DERR (the site).
The map has helped us meet the needs of the public in a way that’s more efficient for them and for us. Document requests that used to take days to complete may now only take a few minutes through the Interactive Map. We are adding new documents to the map all the time to increase the information available and improve our customer service to the public.
We hope you’ll visit our DERR Interactive Map and try it out. To learn more about our response and cleanup programs, visit our web page.
I am the Director of the Division of Environmental Response and Remediation and have been with the agency for more than 24 years. I served as a project manager, section manager and branch manager in the Superfund Program before becoming Director. I am a Utah-registered Professional Geologist, with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Geology from Brigham Young University and an MBA from the University of Utah. In my “spare time,” I work as an adjunct faculty member of the Biology Department at Utah Valley University teaching Human Anatomy.