Nov 95 Level of Govt: State. Function: Environmental Protection. Problem/situation: Effective response to environmental management was inhibited by multiple databases in the Massachusetts's Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. Solution: EOEA developed an integrated environmental management system connecting each division. Jurisdiction: Massachusetts. Vendors: EDS, Oracle. Contact: John Rodman, assistant secretary of Environmental Affairs, 617/727-9800 x217.
Bill Loller G2 Research Massachusetts's Executive Office of Environmental Affairs (EOEA) faced a series of problems in 1988. The problems could be boiled down to the lack of coordination by a myriad of subordinate agencies involved in monitoring environmental processes were obstructing the agency's ability to assess environmental quality holistically and accurately. Within the EOEA, the Department of Environmental Protection maintained separate databases to support divisions managing the air, land or water quality programs. The separation of these activities led to multiple inspectors at a single facility to approve of air, land and water permits as well as storage of key environmental information in separate databases. These factors created inefficiency within the department and confusion in the private sector. Inspectors often entered the same data into each of the three databases, and companies were forced to work with numerous engineers and inspectors in order to receive the permits necessary to legally operate. In 1988, the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection developed a new environmental agenda and reorganized the programs under three new bureaus. The goal was to develop comprehensive, not segmented, environmental protection; cross-media inspections and compliance strategies; and inter-agency data sharing.
Getting Connected In order to successfully fulfill these objectives, EOEA required a new environmental management system which would integrate environmental data and connect each division. The development and implementation of an Environmental Protection Integrated Computer System (EPICS) ensured that the new operational framework for the department would succeed. The implementation of an integrated system became a priority in 1989. In response to the Waste Prevention Facility-wide Inspections to Reduce the Source of Toxins (FIRST) initiative, the department solicited proposals from the vendor community for an integrated environmental database. EDS was selected based on the technical merits of the proposed system as well as the commitment of EDS to EPICS implementation and future planning. The department had previously worked with EDS for hardware and software in addition to consulting services. EPICS revolves around the facility master file (FMF), the comprehensive data model which can be accessed by all programs within the Department of Environmental Protection. CASE methodology was utilized in developing and designing this integrated data model. Essentially, FMF integrated ten individual databases from the following areas: hazardous waste transporters, hazardous waste, transfer storage disposal, hazardous waste handler, air quality, solid waste, industrial waste water, water pollution control, water supply, water management, and cross connections. The integration of these databases eliminated data redundancy and provided all programs with a complete environmental picture of a facility and the status of its regulatory compliance. A single Oracle database stores all of the FMF information. subsystems within EPICS. The regional offices located across the state and within the Boston area access EPICS via a network of LANs and WANs. In fact, approximately 2,000 employees of EOEA at over a dozen locations throughout the state are connected by the network to the EPICS database. >From an operational standpoint, cross-trained inspectors are now able to perform all necessary functions at one facility during a single trip. A consolidated report is generated from the FMF which details the facility's entire compliance history and permit fees. This streamlines the permitting and inspection process and also provides the facility with a single point of contact if problems should arise. Data on individual programs are also stored on EPICS through the program subsystems.
Inter-Agency Data Sharing The department has found increased functionality with EPICS with respect to inter-agency data sharing and improved response to potentially serious situations. In some cases, the Department of Health will contact the department about the