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ECHO Release Notes
May 4, 2015
In December 2013, EPA reached a major milestone in its modernization of the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website when it released Version 2.0. The goal of modernization was to improve system efficiency while providing a more up-to-date, easy-to-use interface. Version 2.0 replaced an old mainframe system but offered only a cross-system search with limited options to access statutory program-specific data. Throughout 2014, EPA phased back in the detailed single-program interfaces that were part of the old ECHO system. ECHO Version 2.4 completes this phase of modernization, bringing back the Clean Air Act Stationary Source search.
ECHO provides information about environmental inspections, violations, and enforcement actions for EPA-regulated facilities, like power plants and factories. ECHO is one of the Agency’s most important and popular resources, with data for 800,000 facilities nationwide, and EPA is excited that it once again has up-to-date Air data. The popular search features are back, and now it’s easier to find data about violations and actions at stationary sources of pollution. Additionally, the information is updated more frequently - weekly, compared to monthly in the old system.
Also, EPA released the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Dashboard (Pesticides Dashboard) to the public on Tuesday, May 5, 2015. The Pesticides Dashboard will initially present three years of compliance and enforcement activity data on the regulated universe of pesticide-producing establishments, thus placing FIFRA compliance information at the fingertips of anyone with Internet access. Future screens will focus on compliance with the worker protection standards. On the dashboard, the public can view and download information about the number of pesticide-producing establishments, inspections, and the government response to these violations during the three most recent years. Data is presented for states, tribes, EPA regions, and the nation as a whole.
Please contact us if you have questions or feedback.
ECHO's Water Pollutant Loading Tool is designed to help you see who is releasing pollutants into lakes, rivers, and streams, what pollutants they are discharging and how much, and where they are discharging. The tool calculates pollution amounts (e.g., pounds) from permit and DMR data from EPA's Integrated Compliance Information System for the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES). The tool ranks facilities, industries, and watersheds based on pollutant mass and toxicity, and presents “top ten” lists to help you identify the facilities discharging the most pollution and the watersheds that are impacted. The tool also includes wastewater pollutant discharge data from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI).
In response to comments and suggestions, EPA has developed new enhancements to the Loading Tool. The new enhancements in Version 2.0 include the following:
- Weekly updates with the latest facility, permit, and DMR data from ICIS-NPDES. This means that you can now view the latest available pollutant discharges from the current year.
- Integration of EPA TRI wastewater treatment technology information and links to the TRI pollution prevention report. You can now see what wastewater technologies industrial facilities are using to manage their wastewater.
- More documentation on how to use the Loading Tool.
Please contact us if you have any questions or would like help in using the tool. We can also provide webinar training.
September 10, 2014
EPA announces the launch today of Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Release 2.3, which offers another substantial searching upgrade. This release follows EPA’s December 2013 complete website re-design (ECHO 2.0) and subsequent enhancements. Today’s release features the addition of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (hazardous waste) and EPA Civil Enforcement Case compliance data searching.
June 24, 2014
EPA is happy to announce the release today of Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Release 2.2, which offers another substantial upgrade in both searching and report viewing. This launch follows EPA’s complete website re-design (ECHO 2.0) that launched in December 2013 and drinking water searching released in March 2014. The biggest change in today’s release is the addition of Clean Water Act (CWA) compliance data searching and detailed viewing of effluent discharge data. The new features can be found by navigating to http://echo.epa.gov, clicking “Explore Facilities”, then clicking “Water”.
In addition to bringing back features from the old ECHO website, we’ve included several enhancements:
- The popular Clean Water Act features are back online, with increased functionality and search options.
- Users can search for Clean Water Act dischargers based on type of pollutants discharged.
- Also in this release, we are providing the details about Clean Water Act violations within a week of when violations are reported into our data system; whereas previously, there was a 5-6 month lag time. This approach has several advantages.
- Recently reported data will be considered draft – allowing regulated permittees an opportunity to identify possible data entry errors before an official quarterly noncompliance status is calculated.
- Data users will be able to see whether a problem has been fixed in the most recent report submissions (rather than needing to wait for the next official calculation).
- Additional information about the water bodies that receive effluent discharges is available for review and download as part of the facility search results page Customize Columns option.
- Effluent Charts include increased functionality and are getting a few more updates, documented on the known issues page.
- Our data downloads are updated once a week instead of annually and include more detailed Clean Water Act data.
On the horizon, ECHO will release modernized search offerings for EPA enforcement cases and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. If you have comments or questions, please let us know by using the Contact Us form.
April 24, 2014
EPA has posted updated national data download files. Not only have the files been updated for the first time in the new ECHO system, but they now can be updated much more frequently (formerly annually) as part of ECHO's weekly refresh process. In addition, files were added for several years of Clean Water Act Discharge Monitoring Report data.
The data download files are large datasets that may be of particular use to academics and analysts, while the ECHO Exporter provides one line of summary data per facility and may be useful to developers and programmers. A key goal of the ECHO modernization project is to provide data as broadly as possible, and these files, along with the web interface and services, offer a variety of ways to consume EPA's enforcement and compliance data.
April 18, 2014
EPA has launched Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Release 2.1.1, which offers additional search options and data. As part of the ECHO modernization project, EPA is rebuilding all of ECHO’s popular features while adding minor enhancements between major releases.
This release adds several features that help users create more targeted facility queries:
- The All Media Programs Advanced Facility Search allows users to search for facilities:
- located near tribal land or near a specific tribe
- regulated under a specific Clean Air Act Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) Subpart
- with EPA formal enforcement actions in the Integrated Compliance Information System (ICIS)
- ECHO users have expressed interest in accessing more detail on EPA enforcement cases before the EPA Civil Enforcement Case Search is rebuilt.
- This search option will lead to more information about each case, as it limits results to facilities that are most likely to have detailed Enforcement Case Reports available on ECHO.
- Additional optional columns of data are available on the All Media Programs facility search results page under Customize Columns:
- Facility Type (by statute)
- Greenhouse Gas Releases (total CO2 metric tons).
In addition, additional compliance information about non-major facilities regulated by the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System is available for 2012. The 2012 Clean Water Act Annual Noncompliance Report was posted on the site, and data from the report were added to the 2012 EPA/State Water Dashboards.
Other improvements are noted on the ECHO What’s New page. The next ECHO update will include updated bulk data download files by statute along with a facility linkage file. The next major release will feature modernized search offerings for the Clean Water Act.
March 21, 2014
EPA has completed Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) Release 2.1, which offers a substantial upgrade in both searching and report viewing. This launch follows closely on the heels of EPA’s complete website re-design (ECHO 2.0) that launched in December 2013. The two biggest changes in today’s release are the addition of Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) compliance data searching, and the addition of the Enforcement Case Report - which contains information about EPA enforcement actions taken against environmental violators.
The new ECHO Safe Drinking Water system search brings back many popular features from the old ECHO site along with some new data that had previously been unreleased by the Agency. ECHO users have expressed interest in not only knowing what facilities have violations, but also the magnitude and duration of those violations. As part of EPA’s commitment to improving transparency, ECHO now includes data from the drinking water compliance points system that is used by EPA’s enforcement program to evaluate the overall scope of drinking water violations at regulated systems. Points are assigned to facilities for measured and reported violations of standards, and for missing or incomplete reports. Users may sort and rank facilities by the points accrued – which EPA hopes will be a driver for faster resolution of problems. The points system, based on EPA’s Drinking Water Enforcement Response Policy (PDF), is explained in the search Results Guide. ECHO shows whether ongoing points accruing for violations have been addressed by an enforcement action (meaning that an enforcement order governs the schedule toward correcting the problems), or are continuing without a formal enforcement action in place. The points system has been successfully used by EPA and its state and tribal partners to help focus regulatory attention on key compliance problems.
EPA Assistant Administrator Cynthia Giles stated that the points system should be released to the public as a compliance driver. “EPA and the states are working hard with drinking water plants to ensure compliance with the law. Today’s data release can help increase pressure on violators to fix their problems. The public has a right to see how EPA classifies these violations, and having more discussion about these problems can help inform public discourse and expedite solutions.”
In addition to the Safe Drinking Water improvements, ECHO also:
- re-designed the popular Enforcement Case Report, which provides greater detail about EPA formal enforcement actions and penalties under a wide variety of environmental statutes, such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act;
- released the first in a string of web services that will allow third party software developers the opportunity to build their own webpages using EPA information;
- added more than ten user-requested enhancements and other improvements, which are described on the ECHO What’s New page.
On the horizon, ECHO will release modernized search offerings for the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, based on the modernization schedule, and will also enhance the “EPA/State Dashboards” section of ECHO with additional data.