ECHO Modernization

Last Updated: September 10, 2014

Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) is the public access website to data stored in EPA compliance and enforcement data systems. Data in the EPA systems come from EPA staff, state/local/tribal agencies, and in some cases directly from regulated facilities.

ECHO is being modernized and redesigned to make it easier to use and maintain. The original site (which was at epa-echo.gov) has been retired. It was launched in 2002 and processed two million queries a year, but could not easily support modern features like frequent data updates and web services. The What's New page is updated when new features are released on this site.

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Features Available in ECHO 2.0

  • Enhanced Visualization and Navigation
    • Modernized interface
    • Responsive design for viewing on tablets
    • Task-based navigation
  • Quick Searches
  • All Data Facility Search (including access to air, water, hazardous waste, and drinking water data)
    • Summary Search Results
    • Detailed facility Report
    • Error Reporting
  • State Comparative Maps and Dashboards
  • More Current Data (weekly data refreshes for most data)

ECHO 2.1

  • EPA Enforcement Case Report
  • Drinking Water (Safe Drinking Water Act) System Search
  • Updated national data download files

ECHO 2.2

  • Water (Clean Water Act) Facility Search
  • Clean Water Act Effluent Charts

ECHO 2.3

  • Hazardous Waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) Facility Search
  • EPA Civil Enforcement Case Search

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Availability of Other ECHO Features

Some features are temporarily unavailable in the new site, but will be added incrementally to modernized ECHO. Dates are subject to change.

Search FeatureAnticipated Availability Date
Clean Air Act facility and pollutant searchFebruary 2015
EPA and State Annual Enforcement Actions MapTo be Determined

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Other EPA Data Sources

Clean Water Act DMR Pollutant Loading Tool
This tool helps users determine who is discharging, what pollutants they are discharging and how much, and where they are discharging. Provides and calculates water discharge information from the EPA system for water enforcement and compliance data (ICIS-NPDES) and from the Toxics Release Inventory (2007-2012). Search by location, watershed, pollutant, or industry and compare the two EPA datasets.
Envirofacts
Provides access to several EPA databases with information about environmental activities that may affect air, water, and land anywhere in the United States.

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Future/New Features

Dates are subject to change.

Anticipated DateFunctionality
2014Mobile phone version
Refine results directly on search results screen
Closer integration of enforcement/compliance data with pollutant loading data
2015Options to display more than five years of data
More data on "non-standard" Clean Water Act facilities
Provide links to/information from documents (such as inspection reports, enforcement actions, etc.)
More powerful, customizable mapping capabilities

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ECHO Modernization Questions

The following questions compiled from a June 2013 presentation are answered below. 

What is available when the beta version of the site is released on October 23, 2013?
The new ECHO website will feature a new multimedia facility search interface ("All Data Search") as a first step, along with the associated search results list/map and Detailed Facility Report. It also will include the State Comparative Maps and Dashboards. You will be able to access and download facility data by media via the multimedia facility search. Also, the popular CWA DMR Pollutant Loading Tool will remain available throughout the modernization process. In addition, the old ECHO website with its final data refresh (August 2013) will remain available until the beginning of December.

How long will some of the searches be unavailable after the old ECHO site is retired?
We anticipate that some ECHO searches will be unavailable for several months. Our proposed schedule estimates:

  • June 2014 - All Clean Water Act features complete
  • September 2014 - EPA Enforcement Cases Search, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (Hazardous Waste) Facility Search
  • February 2015 - Clean Air Act Facility and Pollutant Search

All facility data are accessible via the Multimedia Facility Search. Safe Drinking Water Act data access became available via the Multimedia Facility Search December 3, 2013. In addition, while the initial facility search results present data at the facility level, optional columns of program-specific data (for example, number of Clean Water Act inspections or number of Clean Air Act enforcement actions) are available in the "Customize Columns" option.

Will notice be given as each feature is added back in ECHO?
Yes. We will send emails to the ECHO News list as new features become available.

How often will ECHO's underlying database be updated?
The database that supports ECHO is updated weekly (with some exceptions that will be noted on the site).

Will the modernization increase compatibility with state databases?
No. ECHO pulls data from EPA data systems of record, and provides access to the public. State environmental agency data generally is entered by the states/localities directly into the data systems of record, or sent from state data systems to the EPA data systems. One of these EPA data systems is also being modernized (Air Facility System for Clean Air Act enforcement and compliance data), and that process may improve compatibility between EPA and state systems.

How are determinations made to enter some data and not other data?
EPA has policies and guidance that determine what data state/local environmental agencies must report to EPA. ECHO has a data requirements table that provides a summary of those requirements.

Will additional types of state data be reflected in modernized ECHO compared to what is reflected currently in ECHO?
The modernization project does not include the addition of new state data, but we are open to suggestions on new data and tools for future releases.

What features will be added to ECHO in 2015?
Due to budget uncertainties, EPA has not made final decisions regarding what will be added to ECHO in 2015. Possibilities include:

  • Improved links to information from documents (such as inspection reports, enforcement actions, etc.);
  • More powerful mapping capabilities;
  • More data on "non-standard" Clean Water Act facilities (such as pretreatment operations);
  • Mobile applications; and
  • Improved corporate searching (company as opposed to facility).

Please let us know if you have ideas for additional features or data for inclusion in ECHO.

Will the modernization make it easier to return to the initial query, rather than go back to a full query all over again?
For facility searches, the search results screen will allow modification of the initial query - the target release for this funtionality is late 2014. In addition, query selections are retained on the full search page when you use the "Modify Search" button. For other features that will be modernized later, such as Clean Water Act Effluent Charts, we will try to make it possible to return to the initial query.

Will modernized ECHO allow for the searching of a facility that is based in one state, but the home office is located in another location?
While there are some exceptions, ECHO generally searches based upon the location of the facility. ECHO has little information about the corporate headquarters location. The best way to find the full range of data points for a company is to search without a geographic restriction, and then review the results to identify the facilities that are of interest to you.

Will modernized ECHO allow for nationwide searching for a specific federal agency?
ECHO will allow searching for facilities by selecting a federal agency from a dropdown list.

Will modernized ECHO link to current permits?
EPA does not hold permit documents in a national system, but the old ECHO site had started linking directly to state documents. EPA will rebuild this functionality and then hopes to expand this effort and make more permit, compliance, and enforcement documents available. When rebuilt, the ECHO Detailed Facility Report will link to Arkansas and Montana Clean Water Act permit documents, and New Hampshire Clean Air Act documents.

Will there be webinars to train users on how to use ECHO?
Because it will be taken down at the beginning of December, EPA will not be training users on the old site. EPA will try to offer online training for the modernized ECHO site in the future.

Can anyone register for an account to customize his/her ECHO site?
Not yet. Customization options aren't available yet, but will be phased in as the functionality of the site grows. In our initial release, only government users will be able to register for accounts. We plan to add the ability for all users to register so they can customize ECHO with their preferences, but we haven't determined a date for that yet.

Will the ability to download effluent data for multiple facilities be available in modernized ECHO?
The CWA effluent charts will not be available for the initial launch (they've since been added as of June 2014). EPA plans to replace or enhance existing features, so the existing bulk download for effluent charts will continue. EPA's proposed schedule calls for the effluent charts to be modernized and available in June of 2014.

Will there be any changes to the error correction process?
No. A different EPA office manages EPA's error correction process, and modernized ECHO will continue to feed error notifications into that process from the Detailed Facility Report.

Will modernized ECHO provide a street address search?
The new system allows users to search for an exact address to find a specific facility located at that address.

Will the modernized ECHO website replace the Online Tracking Information System (OTIS) website?
Yes. OTIS was a website that offered the same data as ECHO, but with queries specialized for government users. OTIS was retired at the beginning of December 2013. Government-only features from OTIS will be provided via EPA LAN ID and password or EPA Portal ID as "ECHO Gov".

Is Envirofacts considered a legacy site in comparison to ECHO?
No, EPA's Envirofacts website is similar to ECHO in that it offers data from various EPA data systems to the public online. ECHO has a compliance and enforcement data focus. Details are included in the ECHO FAQ.

Will modernized ECHO allow for the viewing of more than three years of compliance data?
Yes. For the initial launch, we provide the same amount of facility data (generally five years of inspection and enforcement data and three years of compliance data). Because users frequently request that we provide access to more years of data, we plan to accommodate that request during a later release. Existing bulk downloads will continue to be available, providing access to data from the inception of the EPA program.

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