Working in a Deeper Shade of Green

Von Sarah Scalet
Dank des neuen IT-System kann die Umweltbehörde im US-Staat Pennsylvania zunehmend davon absehen, Bußgelder zu verhängen. Statt dessen geht sie nun proaktiv vor. Grund genug für CIOs US-Schwesterzeitschrift der Behörde einen Preis zu verleihen.

Quelle: CIO USA

Five years ago, if hundreds of dead fish washed up on the banks of a river in Pennsylvania, the state's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had a lot more than an environmental emergency on its hands. It had a logistical nightmare. Inspectors had to make a flurry of telephone calls to offices that monitor different aspects of the environmentair quality, drinking water, waste management, mining and the liketo figure out what caused the problem. Meanwhile, as they wasted time and money trying to pull together the critical information from disparate systems, more fish were dying.

No longer. "Now, if we see a segment of a stream that's impaired, we can pull up a GIS application and say, 'Show me all the facilities that we regulate that are upstream or downstream within five miles of this point," says CIO Karen Bassett. What's more, the data integration system that makes this efficiency possible is also helping prevent some problems from happening in the first place, as the department undergoes a radical change of mind-set, from one of merely conducting inspections and levying fines to proactively monitoring and caring for the environment.

The change in thinking hasn't been easy, but the technology is starting to pay off, with more informed employees, more focused outreach programs, better citizen participation and a software licensing agreement that could save the state hundreds of thousands of dollars.

CIO's panel of judges agreed that the system deserved a 2002 Enterprise Value Award, and the rest of the country has also made note of its significance: Kimberly Nelson, the department's former CIO, has been confirmed as CIO of the Environmental Protection Agency.

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