AFE 2021: DEC Virtual Inspections Pilot Program
February 11 @ 11:15 am - 12:15 pm
The COVID-19 pandemic raised important concerns regarding certain aspects of how the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation protects public health and our environment. In particular, travel to rural communities to conduct on-site inspections could violate local travel restrictions and introduce the virus to remote areas. To help prevent transmission of COVID-19, DEC explored virtual inspections as a way to ensure permit conditions were being met without risking human health. This presentation will cover how virtual inspections were conducted, from facility selection to preparation, inspection, and follow-up. DEC staff will discuss the challenges and benefits of virtual inspections, and how they differ from offsite inspections that DEC regularly conducts. In addition to findings from the pilot program, presenters will touch on open questions and next steps, discussions with EPA and other states, and what they see regarding incorporating virtual inspections into DEC’s regular tool-kit.