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About the Data
ECHO data focuses on compliance- and enforcement-related information for regulated facilities, including:
- Permit data
- Inspection/compliance evaluation dates and findings
- Violations of environmental regulations
- Enforcement actions
- Penalties assessed
ECHO includes EPA, state, local and tribal environmental agency compliance and enforcement records that are contained in EPA national databases. ECHO also incorporates many EPA environmental data sets to provide additional context for analyses. Learn more about:
Below is a summary of data included in ECHO.
Date Data Extracted
Expected Next Extract
The Facility Registry System (FRS) contains facility identification information.
The Air Facility System (AFS) contains data regarding regulated Clean Air Act (CAA) stationary sources and their compliance records.
The Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS) Federal Enforcement and Compliance (FE&C) contains EPA data for inspections and enforcement actions for the following environmental laws:
ICIS National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES) contains permit information, limits, and discharge monitoring data for facilities managed under the NPDES program.
Note: ICIS-NPDES includes historical data for the state of New Jersey; however, as of November 29th, 2012, the state will no longer provide EPA with required new data about its CWA activities.
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Information (RCRAInfo) system includes data for hazardous waste handlers and includes information on treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regarding permit/closure status, compliance with federal and state regulations, and cleanup activities.
The Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) contains information on public water systems, including monitoring, enforcement, and violation data related to requirements established by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data include information on the release of chemicals to the environment (emitted to the air or water, or placed in some type of land disposal) and management of chemicals through recycling, energy recovery and/or treatment. Note: As of 4/10/14, ECHO uses 2012 TRI data.
The Emission Inventory System (EIS) database contains information on stationary and mobile sources that emit criteria air pollutants and their precursors, as well as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs). Note: Data expected to be added in 2015.
U.S. Census Data
U.S. Census demographic data from the Census Block Group Data (CBG) database are included. The CBG database is derived from the 2010 Census of Population and Housing Summary Tape Files 1A and 3A.
Note: The time period of data displayed throughout ECHO can vary:
- The past five years of facility inspection and enforcement data (from the date of extraction from the source database) are presented.
- The past three years of facility compliance data are presented as quarters of compliance (three-month periods) based on the federal fiscal year.
- EPA formal enforcement action data from ICIS are available from 2002 to present.
- Additional years of data are available in the ECHO Downloads.
- ECHO data represent “snapshots” of the original source databases and reflect the data as they existed when the data were extracted.
- Although data are routinely updated, a lag time exists (anywhere from a week up to three months) between when data are entered into the source database and when they appear in ECHO.
ECHO presents data as-reported to the original source databases. Data contained in EPA national databases generally are more complete for larger facilities. When conducting analyses, understand that the types of facilities that tend to have more complete data are described differently in each source database:
- Clean Air Act facilities: active, "federally-reportable" sources.
- Clean Water Act facilities: active, "major" permittees.
- Hazardous waste facilities: operating treatment, storage, and disposal facilities and active large quantity generators.
Data for smaller facilities can vary widely (i.e., nonexistent, a partial representation, voluntarily entered by some states and not by others). Understanding the mix of required and non-required data helps with interpreting whether ECHO information is complete. Aditionally, it can be helpful to consult state environmental agencies or state databases.
Additional information is available to gain a better understanding of the variability among data reporting requirements for regulated facilities:
- Data Entry Requirements – A matrix illustrating the variability of reporting requirements for the major EPA program systems utilized by ECHO (AFS, ICIS, RCRAInfo, and SDWIS). For example, states are not required to report violations occurring at Clean Water Act non-major facilities, thus data regarding violations at those facilities may not be available via ECHO. This matrix describes such requirements.
- Inspection frequencies are typically based on the size of the facility, though regulators have options for determining inspection frequency:
- For example, large or "major" facilities may be inspected/evaluated annually, on a two-year cycle, or even several times during a year
- Smaller facilities may be inspected/evaluated every five years
- Compliance may be determined through means other than on-site inspections/evaluations
- Many facilities are required to self-report certain violations
- Inspections for smaller CAA and CWA facilities may only be tracked in a state's database and not reflected in the national database
- Information available for enforcement actions can vary:
- Enforcement actions that have not been concluded are not displayed in ECHO (however, underlying violations are normally reported prior to completed government enforcement)
- Criminal enforcement actions are not displayed in ECHO (although ECHO does link to the EPA criminal enforcement cases search page)
- Note that not all violations receive formal enforcement actions - in fact, many minor violations are corrected by facilities without the need for formal action
- Enforcement actions taken more than five years ago are not included in facility searches; however, the EPA Enforcement Cases Search (coming soon) will allow searching beyond the past five years, as will other anticipated features
- The relevant state environmental agency may have additional information
- Data often are not complete for CWA non-major facilities, because EPA has not finalized regulations requiring entry of such data.
- Generate a comparative map by selecting the Water tab, choose "Facilities Reporting Discharge Monitoring Reports" and click "Refresh Map" to view completeness of compliance information presented in ECHO.
- Annual Noncompliance Reports provide summary noncompliance data for CWA non-major facilities. Data from recent reports are displayed on ECHO, as are links to the reports.
- Guide to Regulated Facilities
- More State Data through state environmental agency websites
EPA, authorized or delegated states, tribal and local jurisdictions conduct compliance assurance and enforcement activities related to federal environmental laws. Each level of government works to ensure that information contained in national databases is accurate. The migration of data from many jurisdictions to multiple national program databases is a challenging task. Some state and local jurisdictions directly enter data to national databases, while others maintain their own databases and transfer data to EPA through batch processing. Under both approaches, steps are taken to ensure that the data are of the highest quality (e.g., each national database maintains standards and procedures for ensuring data integrity on a day-to-day basis).
Data are continuously evaluated. Through periodic analysis, conference calls, and national meetings, database managers at all levels of government work to ensure quality information. Error reporting is available in ECHO to communicate and correct errors that are identified while using ECHO. Known problems also are noted on the site.
The information contained in ECHO is made available to the public by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for information purposes only. No warranty, express or implied, is made by EPA or any other agency of the U.S. Government regarding the accuracy or completeness of this information.
ECHO is not designed for large scale data transfers or robotic queries. EPA reserves the right to disable users that initiate robotic, programmed queries.