All About NDEE – Engineering Section
Whether it’s turning on a faucet or flushing a toilet, these are two everyday occurrences that most people have likely taken for granted at one time or another. In reality, there is a complex set of systems and processes behind these seemingly simple actions, and it takes a team of engineers to ensure that water from the tap stays clean and that wastewater is treated properly.
At the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE), engineers are a vital component in the department’s commitment to protecting human health and the environment.
NDEE wastewater engineers administer Nebraska's construction permit program for wastewater facilities built in the state. Industries, commercial facilities, and municipal utilities are required to submit the plans and specifications for their projects to NDEE for review. Those specifications are reviewed to make sure that the collection systems and treatment facilities will function properly and are able to meet treatment standards as well as discharge limits.
NDEE drinking water engineers conduct engineering plan reviews; perform inspections of newly constructed projects; and provide technical assistance for owners and operators of public water systems, consulting engineers, government officials, and the general public in matters relating to design, construction, maintenance, and operation of public water systems. NDEE drinking water engineers also provide similar services for all new and substantially modified public swimming pools and spas.
NDEE recently consolidated all engineering and permitting activities into one division, which improved efficiency and allowed for additional cross training. In fact, days to issue a wastewater permit at NDEE dropped from 22 days in 2018 to 15 days in 2022. Similarly, days to issue a drinking water permit dropped from 22 days in 2018 to 16 days in 2022.
During the state’s 2022 fiscal year, NDEE’s Engineering Section reviewed and approved 255 wastewater projects, 176 drinking water projects, and 75 swimming pool or spa projects.
In addition to reviewing facility plans and specifications, NDEE’s Engineering Section spends a considerable amount of time each year working with communities that need to upgrade their facilities. To help facilitate these projects, NDEE engineers meet with municipal officials, funding agencies, and consulting engineers to develop affordable projects for Nebraska communities.