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Housed within the Office of the Commissioner, the Office of Innovation and Assistance (OIA) provides the regulated community and general public a centralized place within the department to seek guidance and answers on Maine’s environmental regulations, laws, and policies. One of the top priorities of OIA is to increase environmental literacy, ensuring all Mainers are better stewards of our environment and natural resources. OIA staff are available to work with the general public, municipalities, businesses, and non-profits to address any questions and concerns that may arise, or to receive ideas for the department to better partner with the community.
Whether developing training webinars for trade associations, quickly answering questions on what type of permits are needed for a particular project, or developing innovative processes designed for ease of bidding on DEP projects, OIA is committed to increasing compliance. OIA believes in the investment of skills and education to boost innovation and support the sustainability of our environment and economy.
Working with the DEP on our expansion project was much easier than I anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly it went."– Kevin Nelson, vice-president of operations at Mid-State Machine Products
I am proud of our staff for rolling up their sleeves to get this work done more efficiently while still upholding the highest quality of review and in doing so, ensuring that Maine has a robust and sustainable economy and a strong and healthy environment."– Patricia Aho, Commissioner, DEP
A timely, pragmatic and predictable permitting process sends the message that Maine is open for business and the jobs and investment in our state business brings."– Patricia Aho, Commissioner, DEP
Meet Our Team
Director, Chris Swain, 207-287-7831.
Chris has 25 years of experience managing complex remediation sites for DEP by partnering with communities and businesses on solution based approaches to resolving environmental problems and finding opportunities. The Office of Innovation and Assistance recognizes that each site has unique circumstances, and works with its partners to custom fit solutions.
- Regulatory Training
- Small Business Environmental Assistance Program / Small Business Ombudsman
- permitting / compliance issues
- upcoming rules and regulations
- pollution prevention practices
- compliance incentive audit programs
- liaisons between municipal and County officials
- connects municipalities with various programs, grants or other financial assistance
- helps with applications or advocate on their behalf with other governmental programs
- Maine Contractor Certification Program has trained over 4,000 people in erosion and sedimentation controls, “Stream Smart” road crossings, coastal erosion workshops, salt management workshops and maintenance/repair of gravel roads
- conferences, classes, and workshops on the design of stormwater management, erosion/sedimentation control, and slope stabilization for consultants, engineers, architects, and code enforcement officers
Additional Opportunities for DEP Assistance
Brownfields. Assistance is available to Municipalities and Non-profit groups through the Brownfields Program for conducting Environmental Site Assessments and Remedial Actions at qualified sites. A Brownfield is a site where redevelopment is impeded by contamination or the potential for contamination
Grants and Loans. Assistance in the form of grants or loans may be available through specific programs throughout the department.