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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.
Meet Our Team
The Office of Innovation and Assistance recognizes that each site has unique circumstances, and works with its partners to custom fit solutions.
Assistance, Julie Churchill 207-287-7881
- 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 DEP's Nonpoint Source Training Center provides training opportunities, resources, and assistance to reduce nonpoint source (NPS) pollution to Maine's natural resources. The Training Center's goal is to widely share information and promote best practices that decrease pollution, provide clarity and guidance on land-use regulations and permitting requirements, and facilitate collaboration and action through education.
In addition to providing training and education materials, the Training Center offers professional certification opportunities to contractors, municipal officials, engineers, construction inspectors, landscapers, and others engaged in activities that could lead to or prevent NPS pollution in Maine.
- Certification in Erosion Control Practices is a certification for those involved in soil disturbance activities in Maine; however, within the Shoreland Zone, a certified individual is required to be on-site during all phases of soil disturbance. This program requires completion of approved training, demonstration of competency, and continuing education to maintain certification.
- Certification in Inspection and Maintenance of Stormwater BMPs is a professional certification recommended for anyone who is performing 5-year re-certification inspections (Chapter 500, DEP Stormwater permits) and those conducting post-construction inspections in MS4 communities. This program requires demonstration of qualifications through experience and education, and a passing score on the Department's Qualified Stormwater Inspector exam.
- Municipal Stream Crossing Upgrade Grant Program Since 2015, Maine voters have approved a total of four bonds that fund the upgrade and replacement of stream crossings throughout Maine. These monies support the DEP's competitive grant program that matches local funding for the upgrade of municipal culverts at stream crossings to cost-effectively improve fish and wildlife habitats, reduce flooding, and increase community safety
Additional Opportunities for 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.