Environment

Kentucky’s Department for Environmental Protection has long relied on paper for a lot of its record-keeping. In the DEP’s building in Frankfort, the file room is huge — full of never-ending rows of cabinets and documents.

But it’s more accurate now to say the file room was full. As part of the agency’s preparation for a move to another building, the entire room has been emptied.

“We have digitized everything in that room,” said Brandon Bruner, who works in the DEP’s open records division.

That amounts to about 10,000 linear feet of files, or the equivalent of more than 27 football fields. There were years worth of documentation of permits, violations and lab results. It took nearly two years to complete, but Bruner said all the records that the state is required to keep under its records retention schedule have been scanned.

“Any records that were past the retention schedule and did not have a direct business need, we were able to recycle those,” he said.

The state requires some files to be kept permanently, like environmental impact study records and enforcement records.

Now that the files have been scanned in preparation for the move, Bruner said it should make it easier to access the records for members of the public and media requesting DEP information.