The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has recently launched a new mapping tool in its Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) database. In an effort to improve transparency, the EPA and State Enforcement Actions Map will provide the public with access to EPA and state compliance and enforcement information for more than 800,000 regulated facilities nationwide. Most of the data will be refreshed monthly to include up to date information about the enforcement actions taken to address water, air, and hazardous waste law violations.
The ECHO website allows users to search for permit, inspection, violation, enforcement action, informal enforcement action, and penalty information covering the past five years about facilities in their communities. Data is available for larger facilities as well as many smaller facilities. Facilities included on the site are Clean Air Act (CAA) stationary sources; Clean Water Act (CWA) facilities with direct discharge permits, under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System; generators and handlers of hazardous waste, regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); and public drinking water systems, regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). When available, information also is provided on surrounding demographics. The information provided includes a facility’s record of compliance with environmental regulations by showing dates and types of violations, as well as the seriousness of the violations. The data also shows if a facility has had an enforcement action by the state or EPA and any penalties assessed.
Users have a choice of several search options. The ECHO homepage provides a quick search of facility reports by city or zip code. The “All Data” search option allows users to search across the major environmental programs under which a facility might be regulated. This search does not include public drinking water data yet; however, this information is available through the single-media Drinking Water Data search. There are also program-specific searches as well as multiple ID searches. Additionally, users can search for federal code enforcement cases, and cases with supplemental environmental projects that were concluded after September 30, 2000.
The summary results report contains a list of facility names that meet search criteria provided along with the number of inspections, quarters in non-compliance, formal enforcement actions and informal enforcement actions. A yes or no indicator is used to designate whether a facility has current significant violations. Case searches list federal cases that meet your search criteria along with additional information about the case. The Detailed Facility Report provides information about the facility location, characteristics, regulatory category along with inspection dates, violation status, pollutants in violation, enforcement actions taken by the government, informal enforcement actions taken by the government, penalties assessed, and demographics of the area surrounding the facility.
The EPA Enforcement Case Report provides more details about enforcement cases that EPA has taken.
Access to the ECHO database, as well as other environmental resources, can be found at the Free Public Records Directory, Sustainability and Environmental Health Resources category page. There you can access information and links to many types of environmental matters, such as superfund sites, toxic chemical databases, pollution maps, oil spill incidents, and local environmental programs. Additionally, the Free Public Records Directory provides access to many other types of public records, such land records, business licenses, warrants, laws, vital records, and more. Information can be found on the national, state, county and local levels.