Connecticut DEEP Uses Lean to Improve Underground Storage Tank Enforcement

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) oversees the underground storage tank (UST) of petroleum (typically managed by gas stations and trucking companies). Their goal is to prevent leaks from getting into the local groundwater and wells that are used as a drinking water source by 1/3 of the population in the state.

The first lean event looked to determine more efficient ways to meet a new increased inspection demand to visit each UST site every 3 years. The team created a Value Stream Map and Spaghetti Diagram to map out the current state of the process. It required 118 total steps.

The team came up with a mobile office technology in the field to allow them to reduce travel back to the office to upload and print reports, and reduced the delay in the business owner getting the final report.

After the event, the team was able to reduce the steps down to 47 steps (60% reduction), which also increased the number of inspections completed per inspector per month from 20 to 55 (almost triple). Before, they had about 13 full and part-time staff completing 800 inspections a year, and now they can complete almost 1300 inspections with 5 staff. The other 2 permanent staff were allocated back to the office to help with notices of violation. The number of violations issued increased from 14 per year to 425 per year, which has increased the UST compliance rate from 58% to 78%.

Another improvement was the reduction in paperwork required for UST owners to complete each year. The 11-page form previously was mailed out and physically returned to their office. They were able to move to an online form (called Easy File) which did not require any mailing, reduced 40,000 sheets of paper annually, and greatly reduced the office data entry and filing time for both business owners and DEEP.

You can watch the video called “DEEP Digs Into Underground Storage” at