In december, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) launched an online application system that allows haulers to apply for and renew registrations for truck authorizations to state landfills. It is an effort by the DEP to streamline a previously slow and inconvenient process.

Haulers who have used the new automated system say it saves them time and is very user-friendly compared to the old system. The system launched on Dec. 6, 2007. Since then, it has registered 65 transactions and collected $150,000 in associated fees. “It's so much easier than the paper format,” says Heather Talley, who's in charge of accounts payable for Burgmeier's Hauling, Altoona, Pa., which operates a fleet of 42 trucks. “We used to have to fill out the papers and send a check, and then wait two weeks to get the permit.” The DEP Web site claims paper applications used to take up to 30 days to process. In fact, Talley says the DEP advised her to apply for renewal 90 days before the expiration date. “Now it takes 48 to 72 hours to process and get the permit,” she says. The new system deals specifically with Act 90 state authorizations for hauling trucks.

According to a DEP press release, the online system provides the state's 6,200 waste haulers an easier way to register the approximately 32,000 vehicles they operate. According to the state, waste haulers are regulated under the Waste Transportation Safety Act (Act 90 of 2002). Municipal and residual waste haulers using waste disposal and processing facilities in Pennsylvania must first obtain written authorization to use those facilities from DEP. Vehicles without valid waste hauler authorization stickers may not use waste disposal and processing facilities in the commonwealth.

“This paperless system increases the convenience for waste haulers and improves the efficiency of DEP operation by reducing the amount of paper we process by hand,” said Kathleen McGinty, DEP secretary, in a press release. “The new system allows for applications to be submitted through our Web site at any time, any day.”

The DEP worked closely with haulers to develop the system and gathered feedback during recent state-hosted training sessions. Talley attended a session in November at the DEP headquarters in Harrisburg, Pa. She says everything ran smoothly, and she doesn't remember any major concerns. “There may have been a problem in navigating the system from one step in the process to the other, but other than that, the system was very easy to follow,” she says.

Steve Creamer, an administrative clerk for Joppa, Md.-based A2Z Environmental, handles the company's truck registrations and renewals. The company has a fleet of 25 trucks that use state landfills in Pennsylvania. He says that he is new to the entire process but found the online application system after a routine search of the DEP Web site. “It was very straightforward and had a step-by-step process,” he says. “I had no problem at all.”