The Department of Environmental Protection has launched a pilot mobile application that will enhance protection of public health and the environment by enabling the public to use smartphones and other mobile devices to conveniently report non-emergency environmental incidents, Commissioner Bob Martin announced today.
The pilot WARN NJDEP mobile app complements the DEP’s telephone hotline, 877-WARNDEP, which has been in operation for many years. The app can be downloaded through Google Play, the Apple app store and the Microsoft app store. Enter WARN NJDEP in the search bar. You may also access the Google Play download by clicking the WARN NJDEP logo on this news release.
The pilot app is not intended to report life-threatening and/or environmental emergencies. These should be reported by calling 9-1-1, local police or the DEP’s hotline. Also, the app shall NOT be utilized by regulated entities, as an acceptable method for fulfilling notification requirements to the DEP.
The pilot app utilizes GPS technology for pinpoint location of environmental incidents and also allows users to submit photos as part of their reports to the DEP.
“This new service reflects the Christie Administration’s commitment to engaging the public as partners in strong environmental protection,” Commissioner Martin said. “The application utilizes the latest technology to enhance protection of the environment by making it convenient for people to report incidents that can negatively impact our communities.”
The types of non-emergency incidents that may be reported through the pilot application include improper storage or disposal of waste and other materials, odor complaints, sewage leaks, smoke and dust complaints, underground storage tank incidents, and wetlands or stream encroachment issues.
The DEP’s Communications Center receives tens of thousands of calls annually, on a wide range of incidents, from nuisance wildlife complaints and wildfires to hazardous material releases. The center works to assign cases within the DEP, as well as assigning cases to appropriate county and local agencies.
“This application gives the public a direct portal into reporting incidents in their communities and neighborhoods, effectively giving us more eyes on the ground, while helping us to assign cases to the appropriate response agencies more efficiently,” said Bob Van Fossen, DEP’s Emergency Management Director.
The pilot application allows user to provide essential information on the type of environmental incident, the date and time of the incident, whether it is ongoing, and a brief description of what happened.
Users may provide their contact information, although they may choose to report incidents anonymously, as has been the case for years through the DEP hotline number system.
The app provides a one-touch link allowing the user to call the DEP’s Communications Center and directly speak to a dispatcher, if that is the user’s preference.
The WARN NJDEP mobile application was developed in partnership with the New Jersey Information Division of NICUSA, Inc., a national leader in information technology development for government agencies. NIC-related companies work with more than 3,500 federal, state and local government agencies.