Home → About Us
About the Maine Department of Environmental Protection
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is responsible for protecting and restoring Maine's natural resources and enforcing the state's environmental laws. The agency can trace its roots back to the Sanitary Water Board that was created in 1941. The purpose of that Board was to study, investigate, recommend means of eliminating and preventing pollution in waters used for recreational purposes. The Board was renamed the Water Improvement Commission in 1951. In 1969, the Commission's title was abbreviated to the Environmental Improvement Commission.
On July 1, 1972, legislation re-designated the Commission as the Board of Environmental Protection and created a new Department of Environmental Protection, consisting of a commissioner and three program bureaus: Air Quality, Land Quality Control, and Water Quality Control. Over the years, the Department has continued to evolve to its current organization consisting of the the Commissioner's Office and three bureaus which administer the Department's environmental programs: Air Quality, Land and Water Quality, and Remediation and Waste Management. The Board of Environmental Protection is a seven member citizen's board nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Legislature that performs major substantive rulemaking, makes decisions on select permit applications and appeals of Commissioner licensing and enforcement actions, and provides a forum for public participation in department decisions.
Legislative mandate directs DEP to prevent, abate and control the pollution of the air, water and land. The charge is to preserve, improve and prevent diminution of the natural environment of the State. The Department is also directed to protect and enhance the public's right to use and enjoy the State's natural resources. The Department administers programs, educates and makes regulatory decisions that contribute to the achievement of this mission.
In pursuing this mission, it is the policy of the Department to treat its employees and the public with courtesy, respect and consideration and to be fair and honest in its dealings, and to be mindful of the special qualities that make Maine a unique place to live and work.
Customer Service Commitment
We value a clean environment where public health and natural heritage are protected.
We value treating every person we interact with every day as a customer.
We value working hard to understand the needs of our customers, and we work cooperatively with them.
We value each individual staff person and believe each is important to the success of the department.
We value creativity, enthusiasm. innovation and excellence, and we build on the efforts of individuals through team work.
We value performing our work in a timely and effective manner with honesty, courtesy and respect.
A Maine where people include, in every aspect of their daily lives, a commitment to the protection and enhancement of our environment.
A Maine where a stewardship of natural resources ensures a sustainable economy for future generations.
A Maine where people understand that a healthy environment and a strong economy support one another.
A Maine Department of Environmental Protection that fosters teamwork, continuous improvement, public service and creativity, with a dedicated, highly skilled and diverse work force.
As an integral member of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, I am committed to serving each of my internal and external customers.
To accomplish this:
I will listen to my customers, understand their needs and explain clearly the needs, responsibilities and mission of the department and its programs.
I will work in partnership with my customers to further the department's mission to protect and improve the environment and the health of Maine's citizens.
I will act promptly, fairly, professionally and courteously in all my endeavors, and I hold myself accountable for my actions.
The Department engages in a wide range of activities. It makes recommendations to the Legislature regarding measures to prevent, minimize and eliminate environmental pollution; issues licenses; initiates enforcement actions; and provides information and technical assistance. The DEP serves as the main link to the federal government on environmental issues and administers some federal programs. Working with the general public, legislators and state and municipal agencies, department staff implement environmental laws and programs.
The Department is organized by environmental media into three bureaus –Air Quality, Land & Water Quality and Remediation & Waste Management– and the Office of the Commissioner, which includes the Office of Communications & Education, the Office of Policy Development & Implementation and the Office of Assistance. Within that structure, department leadership continues to implement organizational improvements that will enhance the agency’s effectiveness in providing protections for the state’s air, land and water while enacting efficiencies to strengthen customer service and operations.
The Department maintains offices across the state to provide accessibility to municipalities and the public and to enable staff to conduct necessary field work. The Office of the Commissioner and Central Maine Regional Office are located in Augusta. Other offices include the Northern Maine Regional Office in Presque Isle, the Eastern Maine Regional Office in Bangor and the Southern Maine Regional Office in Portland.