Enforcement Case Search Results Help

The Search Results page presents results that meet the search criteria specified on the Enforcement Case Search page. The Search Results page is an interactive page that allows you to view the results of your search in a number of different ways, each of which are described in the sections below. A detailed Results Guide is also available that describes each data field included in the search results.


Customize the View

The map, data table, and summary information panel (case summary, current search, and layers) are presented together by default. ECHO provides several options for customizing your view of this page using the following buttons. The three buttons toggle between “Hide…” and “Show…” depending on the current selection.

Important Reminders

  • Tip: Control whether sections are expanded or collapsed by clicking the section header.
  • The map and data table are synchronized by default.
  • Results displayed are based on the criteria shown in the Current Search panel.
    • If no specific location criteria are defined, search results are limited to the current geographic boundaries of the visible map.
  • Click Modify Search or the View Search Form links to access the search form.
  • Map layers require a minimum zoom level to enable.

Visually Analyze Data Presented on an Interactive Map

ECHO displays facilities associated with civil and criminal enforcement cases included in your search results on an interactive map. Only those facilities with available geographical data are mapped. You can use the map zoom-in and zoom-out controls to manipulate the map. Click the Reset Map button to return to the original view.

When a search returns more than 500 facilities associated with the returned enforcement cases, mapped cases are grouped in clusters. The count of enforcement cases included in a cluster is displayed inside of the cluster. A mix of clusters and individual cases may appear depending on the density of the number of cases. Clusters are pre-established within ECHO and correlated to specific regions (e.g., metropolitan areas, counties or states). Cases without geographic location data do not appear on the map, but are included in a table row titled "No Map Data." 

You can customize the base layer map by clicking Basemap Options. Imagery is selected by default. The following choices are available:

  • Imagery
  • Imagery with Labels
  • Streets
  • Topographic
  • Dark Gray Canvas
  • Light Gray Canvas
  • National Geographic
  • Oceans
  • Terrain with Labels
  • Open Street Map
  • USA Topo Maps
  • USGS National Map

A map legend is included that describes the symbols used on the map. Click the Map Legend button in the top right of the map to expand the legend.

Click on the map pin to view basic enforcement case information (click on the links below to jump to the Results Guide for detailed descriptions of each):

Click on the hyperlinked case name to view the respective Civil Enforcement Case Report or Criminal Enforcement Case Report. For civil enforcement cases, select the hyperlinked facility name to view the facility’s Detailed Facility Report.

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Analyze and Download Data in a Tabular, Customizable View

When viewing results in “Data Table” view, ECHO returns a maximum of 60,000 enforcement case records. Each row of data presents individual enforcement case information. Results are presented in tabular format in the data table and initially include the following columns of data (click on the links below to jump to the Results Guide for detailed descriptions of each):

Tip: Sort tabular data by clicking on the column heading.

You can further manipulate the data presented using either the Customize Columns button or the Download Data button.

Click the Customize Columns button to customize the tabular data to focus on the data most important to you. Data fields available for selection include (click on the links below to jump to the Results Guide for detailed descriptions of each):

Use the Select All link to quickly include all columns for display or use the Clear All link to clear all selections. Note: Case Identifier and Case Name are always included and cannot be unchecked.

ECHO allows you to download your search results for further analysis. Click Download Data to download results in .csv or .xlsx format. Note: .xlsx format is only available for 10,000 or fewer records. Note that the Excel download may require several minutes to process. You may also download in a .csv format without a prompt by clicking Quick CSV Download.

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View Summary Information About the Search Performed

Summary information in the current search panel is provided on the right side of the page and includes several statistics (or counts) of your search results and a summary of your search criteria used, organized by search criteria category.

The number of search results returned is displayed at the top of the current search panel. This number is based on a count of unique case identifiers returned.

This panel includes additional counts of enforcement cases by media program identifiers and case attributes and allows you to select these attributes to further refine your search directly on the results page.

A media program is an EPA program designed to enforce standards under federal laws. Enforcement cases are categorized into one or more media programs, which identify the specific law(s) cited in the enforcement case. Enforcement case counts by media program are presented by default, and include the following:

  • Air (Clean Air Act, CAA)
  • Water (Clean Water Act, CWA)
  • Hazardous Waste (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, RCRA)
  • Drinking Water (Safe Drinking Water Act, SDWA)
  • TRI Program (Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act, EPCRA)
  • Pesticides (Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, FIFRA)
  • Toxic Substances (Toxic Substances Control Act, TSCA)
  • Superfund (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, CERCLA)

You can select one or more media program identifier. The numbers of enforcement cases applying to all additional search criteria dynamically update based on the current selection.

You can select one or more search statistics by case attribute. The counts for all additional search criteria dynamically update based on the current selection. Case attributes include the following:

  • Civil Cases – Displays the number of civil enforcement cases within the search results. Civil case types can be further refined by clicking the following attributes:
    • Judicial Cases – Displays the number of Judicial cases within the search results. Judicial cases are formal lawsuits, typically filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA.
    • Administrative Formal Cases – Displays the number of Administrative Formal cases within the search results. Administrative formal cases are produced by EPA or a state under its authority, and do not involve a judicial court process.
    • Cases with Federal Penalties – Displays the number of civil cases with federal penalty(ies) assessed greater than $0.
    • Cases with Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs) – Displays the number of civil cases with an SEP amount greater than $0.
  • Criminal Cases - Displays the number of criminal enforcement cases within the search results.
  • Federal Facility Involvement – Displays the number of cases involving federally-owned or operated facilities.

You can further tailor your search using additional search terms on the search form. Click Modify Search to return to the search form while retaining the previous search criteria.

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View Summary Information About Individual Facilities

Clicking on a row in the Results Table will display the Case Summary panel to the right of the table. The Case Summary panel provides a brief overview of the selected case.

The following information is displayed in the Case Summary:

Select the “More Case Details" link on the bottom right of the panel to access the Enforcement Case Report, which provides more detailed data about the enforcement case.

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View the Customizable Map Layers

In the Layers panel, ECHO provides additional map layers to enhance geographic analyses. ECHO leverages map services available from other EPA programs and data sources.

Each map layer requires a specific map scale for display. Layers are only available for selection if the map is zoomed in to a sufficient scale which is indicated next to the layer name (e.g., 48%). To assist you in determining how much farther you may need to scale the map, the current zoom level is displayed. Note: ECHO will display a warning indicator if a previously selected layer is disabled due to the current map scale, alerting you to zoom farther in to re-enable the layer.

ECHO provides access to the following map layers. Click the Info icon displayed next to each layer in the Layers panel to view a description of each layer and display the layer legend.

  • EJSCREEN Maps (Only one layer may be enabled at a time)
    • EJ Indexes
      • PM 2.5
      • Ozone
      • NATA Diesel PM
      • NATA Air Toxics Cancer Risk
      • NATA Respiratory Hazard Index (HI)
      • Traffic Proximity
      • Lead Paint Indicator
      • RMP Site Proximity
      • NPL Site Proximity
      • Hazardous Waste Proximity
      • Water Discharge Proximity
    • Demographic Indicators
      • Demographic Index
      • Under Age 5
      • Over Age 64
      • Low Income (<2x poverty level)
      • Linguistically Isolated
      • Minority Population
      • Less than HS Education
    • Environmental Indicators
      • PM 2.5
      • Ozone
      • NATA Diesel PM
      • NATA Air Toxics Cancer Risk
      • NATA Respiratory Hazard Index (HI)
      • Traffic Proximity
      • Lead Paint Indicator
      • RMP Site Proximity
      • NPL Site Proximity
      • Hazardous Waste Proximity
      • Water Discharge Proximity
  • Air Maps
    • Nonattainment Areas by Pollutant
      • Ozone 8-hr (2008 standard)
      • Ozone 8-hr (2015 standard)
      • Lead (2008 standard)
      • SO2 1-hr (2010 standard)
      • PM 2.5 24 hr (2006 standard)
      • PM 2.5 Annual (1997 standard)
      • PM 2.5 Annual (2012 standard)
      • PM10 (1987 standard)
      • CO (1971 standard)
      • NO2 (1971 standard)
  • Water Maps
    • Assessed Waters 305(b)
    • Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL)
    • Impaired Waters 303(d)
  • Places
    • Schools
    • Hospitals
  • Boundaries
    • Indian Country Boundaries
    • Federal Legislative Districts

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Results Guide

The search results present data from several EPA data sources. Read About the Data for more information on each data source and when the data were last updated in ECHO. Data fields included in the search results are described below. The results page field name is listed in bold and the data download file field name is listed [within brackets in italics].

Note: There may be a delay of up to several months between when cases are concluded and when they are entered into the database. 

Case Identifiers

Case Identifier [case_number]
A unique number identifying the enforcement action. For EPA civil cases, these numbers begin with either the two digit EPA Region Code, "HQ" (headquarters initiated cases), and "EF" or "WF" (Eastern or Western Field Office CAA Mobile Source Program cases); followed by the fiscal year in which the action was initiated. After the fiscal year there is a sequence number. State NPDES civil cases start with the two character post abbreviation, followed by a sequence number.
For criminal cases, the ID was generated in ECHO based on the following format: CR [prosecution_summary_id]. The source of the Prosecution Summary ID is the Summary of Criminal Prosecutions database.
Case Name [case_name]
The name of the case assigned to the enforcement action by the lead attorney. Generally, the primary defendant's name is used as the case name. For civil CERCLA cases, the facility/site name may be used.
Case Category [CaseCategoryCode, case_category_desc]
Identifies the type of action based on the enforcement authority used for civil cases. Additional information on enforcement actions can be found on EPA's Enforcement Basics page.
Administrative Formal Cases are non-judicial enforcement actions taken by EPA or a state under its own authority, without involving a judicial court process. An administrative action by EPA or a state agency may be in the form of:
  • A notice of violation or a Superfund notice letter, or
  • An administrative order or order (either with or without penalties) directing an individual, a business, or other entity to take action to come into compliance, or to clean up a site.
Judicial Cases are formal lawsuits, filed in court, against persons or entities that have failed to comply with statutory or regulatory requirements, with an administrative order, or who owe EPA response costs for cleaning up a Superfund site. These cases are filed by the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of EPA and, in regulatory cases, by the State's Attorneys General for the states as well.
Criminal Cases occur when EPA or a state enforce against a company or person through a criminal action. Criminal actions are usually reserved for the most serious violations, those that are willful, or knowingly committed. A court conviction can result in fines or imprisonment.
Case Lead [lead]
 Indicates whether federal EPA or a state agency has the lead for the enforcement activity. Applies only to Civil cases.
Civil/Criminal Indicator [CivilCriminalIndicator]
A code to distinguish records that are civil (CI) or criminal (CR) enforcement cases.
DoJ Docket Number [DOJDocketNmbr]
For civil enforcement actions, the docket number assigned by the Department of Justice to EPA's Enforcement Action.  This number will identify cases in the Federal Register and in DOJ press releases when a settlement is lodged and entered. Please note this field is not always populated in the EPA program system.
Court Docket Number [CourtDocketNumber]
The number the Clerk of the Court assigned to the case that is filed or to a consent decree when it is lodged. For administrative cases, this number is assigned to the case by the Regional Hearing Clerk. Please note this field is not always populated in the EPA program system.
Primary Case-Level NAICS [primary_naics_code]
For civil enforcement actions, a 6-digit code to classify industrial establishments, as identified in FRS. North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) has replaced the U.S. Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. For detailed information about NAICS, please refer to the U.S. Census Bureau NAICS webpageExit.
Primary Case-Level SIC [primary_sic_code]
For civil case enforcement actions, the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system code of the facility, as identified in FRS. SIC codes were established by the Census Bureau to identify processes, products and services. The SIC code describes the primary activity of the facility. The first two digits in the code define a major business sector; the last two digits denote a facility's specialty within the major sector.

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Case Attributes

Case Status Code [case_status_code]
For civil enforcement actions, a code indicating the Case Status.
Case Status [case_status_desc]
For civil enforcement actions, the current status of the enforcement action. Status is based on the most recent milestone activity reported in the case record. The "as of" status date reflects the date of the most recent milestone activity.
Primary Law/Section [primary_law, primary_section]
Identifies the primary statute/law and section violated and cited in the enforcement action. Many of EPA's judicial actions are based on incidents that are violations of more than one statute. One law entered into the ICIS record is designated the primary law, which is considered the law that is most seriously violated and/or for which the most significant relief is sought. For civil enforcement cases, see a list of possible Statue Codes (Law), Law Section Codes, and Law Section combinations (PDF) (11 pp, 365 K, About PDF).
Pollutants [PollutantDescAgg]
Identifies the pollutant(s) associated with the case. 

Case Milestones

Filed/Issued Date [date_filed]
The filed/issued date can have different meanings depending on the Case Category. The date the judicial complaint is filed in U.S. District Court by the U.S. Attorney. The date that an administrative order is issued or the administrative complaint is filed.
Settlement Date [settlement_date]
For federal judicial actions, this is the date the settlement document is signed by the presiding judge and entered by the Clerk of the Court. At that point, the settlement becomes a binding court order. For administrative actions, this is the date that the final order is signed and issued by the enforcement authority.
Final Order Lodged [date_lodged]
For civil enforcement actions, the date a proposed consent decree is given to the Clerk of the Court for lodging in the District Court.  Upon lodging a consent decree, a notice is published in the Federal Register indicating nature of the proposed settlement and the acceptance period for public comments.
Enforcement Action Closed [date_closed]
For civil enforcement actions, the date the actions requested in the final order have been completed by the recipient; or the termination date of the final order (if such a date is specified) has passed; or the enforcement action has been withdrawn or dismissed; or the enforcement action has been superseded by, or combined into, another related enforcement action addressing the same violations.

Case Outcomes

Enforcement Outcome [enf_outcome]
For civil enforcement actions, the result of the enforcement action.
Federal Penalty Assessed or Agreed To [fed_penalty]
For civil judicial enforcement actions, this amount is the federal penalty assessed against the defendant(s)  as specified in the final entered Consent Decree or Court Order. For administrative enforcement actions, it is the penalty assessed in the Consent/Final Order. It does not include the amount of the penalty mitigated due to a SEP or the amount shared with the state or local entities. Interest payments associated with a penalty paid over time are not included in this amount. EPA settles the vast majority of its administrative and civil judicial enforcement actions, and these settlements include an agreed upon penalty amount. In most of these settlements, there is not a direct admission by the defendant of liability for violations.
SEP Category [sep_categories]
For civil enforcement actions, as part of a settlement, a defendant may voluntarily agree to undertake an environmentally beneficial project (Supplement Environmental Project) related to the violation in exchange for mitigation of the penalty to be paid.  It may not include activities a defendant must take to return to compliance with the law. The EPA has set out eight categories that can be acceptable SEPs:
  • Public Health
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Pollution Reduction
  • Environmental Restoration and Protection
  • Emergency Planning and Preparedness
  • Assessments and Audits
  • Environmental Compliance Promotion
  • Other Types of Projects
Descriptions of each SEP category can be found on the EPA Supplemental Environmental Projects page.
State/Local Penalty Assessed [state_loc_penalty_amt]
The total dollar penalty amount from all settlements to be paid to a state or local enforcement authority that is party to a concluded enforcement action.
SEP Amount [sep_cost]
For civil enforcement actions, the total value of all SEPs for all settlements at the enforcement case.
SEP Description [sep_texts]
For civil enforcement actions, a description of the SEP. These actions do not include activities a violator must take to return to compliance with the law.
Value of Complying Actions [total_comp_action_amt]
For civil enforcement actions, a complying action is an enforceable requirement that obliges the defendant/respondent to take, or refrain from taking, certain specific actions to attain compliance with the law and restore the environment. The value of the complying action refers to the costs incurred by the defendant/respondent to perform the complying action. This value does not include penalties, cost recovery, or costs associated with SEPs. 
Number of Settlements [settlement_cnt]
For civil enforcement actions, the number of settlements associated with the case. Most enforcement actions tend to follow a one-case, one-settlement scenario. However, and in particular with judicial actions involving multiple defendants, more than one settlement may result.
Cost Recovery Awarded [cost_recovery]
For civil enforcement actions, cost recovery awarded is the amount of cost recovery ordered or agreed to be repaid by the responsible party of parties.

 

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