Making Permit & License Time Frames More Transparent

Goal1_Making Licensing Timeframes More Transparent Initiative

Predictable approval timeframes for permit applications give all stakeholders clear expectations on how long it takes to acquire any of DEEP’s more than 100 environmental quality permits. These timeframes also create opportunities for DEEP to improve processes, innovate, and manage staffing resources.

Based upon the extent of review, public notice requirements, potential environmental risk, and technical complexity, each type of permit (i.e., Permit by Rule, General Permit, or Individual Permit) will fall under one of four different timeframes – immediate, within 3 months, within 6 months, or within 12 months.

DEEP’s Environmental Quality Branch (EQ) currently receives approximately 2,000 permit applications per year, covering a diverse range of permits that deal with air, land, water, and waste. DEEP also successfully processes approximately 2,000 permit applications per year, including a backlog of permits from the past five years. Therefore, annually, DEEP processes about the same number of incoming applications as it receives, as reflected in the EQ Permit Totals table below.

 *EQ Permit Totals
  Applications Received
 Applications Processed
 2020  1,925  2,089
 2021  2,079  1,855
 1,986  1,927
 2023  2,226  2,220

* These totals do not currently include our online applications and professional license applications due to alternative tracking systems. Once more of our applications are on line, these totals will also reflect online applications received and processed.

It is important to note that DEEP continues to keep pace and work continues within available resources to process permit applications. We are continually pursuing improvement in meeting DEEP’s permit processing timeliness goals; however, it should be recognized that a significant portion of the applications not meeting timeliness goals are affected by applicant responsiveness, staffing, and/or enforcement issues that may halt progress. Efforts to reduce backlog and legacy applications may compete with efforts to address timely efforts until there are far fewer backlog and legacy applications to focus on. Backlog permit applications are defined as permit applications that are outside of their permit processing timeframe by 1 day to 1 year. Legacy permits are defined as permit applications older than five years. *Backlog details for this quarter are included below the timeliness chart. Legacy permit applications are tracked in a separate Legacy Permit Dashboard.


Explore our interactive data below by selecting the type of license and the timeframe you want to view. These charts display the total number of permits due to be processed in each 90-, 180-, and 365-day timeframes, represented by the sum of the light orange plus the dark orange bars. 

Select the Permit/License Type and the Permit/License Timeframe

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Applications Processed Outside of Timeframe
Applications Processed Within Timeframe
It is always to the applicant’s benefit to submit a complete permit application, which eliminates the time needed for correspondence between the applicant and DEEP program staff, and therefore shortens the time to permit resolution.

Backlog permit application processing for Q1 2024: Significant reductions are shown across programs;
The Air Permitting Division reduced its backlog of 180 day and 365 day permits by ~30% each;
The Remediation Division reduced its backlog of 90 day permits by 20%;
The Water Permitting and Enforcement Division not only achieved completion of over 80% of its 180-day permits, but also reduced its backlog of 180-day and 90-day permits by 33% and 10%, respectively.


The snapshot below of 2023 and Q1 2024 on the Permitting Timeliness Dashboard shows the percentage of on time permit processing and serves as our baseline data before implementation of 20BY26 Goal 2 strategies.

Statistics Summary of Permit Application Processing Timeliness 2023 through Q1 2024