ECHO Comments Archive
"Found your website relatively easy to use for a
non-professional. Appreciate the easy search mechanism. The companies/installations
are well-identified. The actual tables are highly technical, but at least
possible for a lay-person to read, since you provide the "dictionary",
a great help. The only additional help you could give to an amateur would
be a "rating" of each company/installation in the searched for
group, according to some cumulative measure. I realize, however, that this
may be easier asked for than done, and, all in all, I must end by thanking
you for making this data available to the public."
"I am glad that you are offering the public a chance to see how
the businesses in our area are doing. I hope to find the information helpful.
Please continue to have this site available to people."
"As a professional in the private sector, I view this as valuable
tool for me to utilize. It helps bridge some of the communication gap that
exists in our industry, and allows my firm to respond and assist in a quicker
fashion. Please take this as positive feedback and an affirmative comment
to please keep this website up and running."
"I suggest the ability to search by the type of non-compliance under the sections: Inspection/Enforcement History and Compliance Information. I believe this would be particularly helpful in the "water program."
The technologies my industry offers help eliminate sanitary sewer overflows
(SSOs). I had hoped to find an easy means of identifying facilities around
the country that had a specific type of non-compliance, so that the industry
could more readily offer them solutions to their problems."
"This would be a better tool for the public if they were also informed of which regulatory programs were not represented here, and whom they should contact for compliance information about that program.
I wouldn't have found out about this project if I had relied on EPA to
tell me; I was told by someone outside of the federal government. As limited
as the data is, it would be useful to have broader internal review of ECHO
(for example, all inspectors.)"
"I cannot tell you how fabulous' the site. You folks have
done an outstanding job.
"Data indicates that quarterly progress reports required for our waste water permit have not been submitted. This is incorrect. All reports are submitted by certified mail and I have records that show their receipt. In addition, some indications are made that monitoring reports were not received for certain months. Again, all reports were sent to the state via certified mail and I have records showing receipt.
The Agency should be providing industry information on how this data
is entered, how to interpret the data, how do we make corrections, etc.?"
"I want to thank you for a very useful and easy to use and
understand site. Kudos to all who made this happen."
"As currently developed ECHO lists violations by contractors at
the federal facility under the federal facility name rather than the contractor
name (if the federal facility is the permit holder). If the contractors
are the responsible party identified in the formal enforcement action the
enforcement/SNC information should be reflected under the contractor name.
As currently portrayed a contractor could have similar violations at multiple
federal facilities but the ECHO record would totally obscure that fact
if the federal facilities held the permits. The ECHO database needs to
add contractor operations at federal facility sites so the record can fairly
and accurately reflect true compliance data for the public."
"After using ECHO, I would like to say that the ease of use
and speed in which the queries are processed is very good. The level
of detail possible is great. Finally a way to check compliance for
facilities and getting new information (RTK site usually has very
old information) and it doesn't cost anything. Thanks."
"Would it be possible to provide a larger state map once it is selected
from the U.S. map? The resultant state map appears somewhat small and some
of the meager identifiers/locations (i.e.Chicago etc) covers up part of
the watershed basin. Also, possibly having a further enlarged map (and
possibly w/ cities or better yet, county boundaries or both) of a selected
basin might assist in helping to verify for the user if the correct basin
is being selected when looking for a permittee but not sure which basin
they might fall into."
"As a socially responsible investor, it is very important that we be able to search databases such as those accessed via the ECHO pilot by COMPANY rather than just industry or geographical location.
I would strongly encourage you to revise the ECHO program to enable a
search function based on company name."
"I just test drove the echo site. I'm not making a formal comment,
but an informal salute to your comprehensive to collect and disseminate
important environmental information to the public over the internet. I'm
sure that the echo project will continue to evolve and improve to provide
"I can't find information on compliance from more than two years
ago. Perhaps I don't know how. If older data is not available, this
is a serious limitation in determining the compliance history of
a facility or company."
"I note that your definition of a full compliance evaluation
requires an on-site visit. FCEs can be conducted w/o such a visit.
Due to the remote nature of facilities in Alaska, many of our FCE
are done w/o on-site inspections. It would help if you could make
this clear so we don't get requests for on-site inspection report
when no report exists."
"ECHO allows a person to search through 800,000 regulated facilities in order to establish which of them are located in high population areas. Additional information provided assists anyone with even a limited background in chemistry in locating facilities which are likely to store highly hazardous materials.
When you come to this web site to browse, you do so anonymously. EPA
promises not to collect identifying information about you. No attempts
are made to identify individual users or their usage habits. Raw data logs
are used for no other purposes and are scheduled for regular destruction
in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration guidelines.
"Please add a portal that will allow people to search for info even
if they have no facility name or permit number to go by in the search."
"Good screening tool, but should have a link to see the specific
violations and compliance plans. i.e. more specific information should
"So, other than the format, is there any real change from the envirofacts
warehouse database (which is also tied into enviromapper)?"
"It seems to me to be an extraordinarily bad idea to provide potential terrorists with information on how many men, women and children they could kill along with the latitude and longitude of the target and a map.
How does that assist in compliance? I don't object to compliance histories
etc - but this seems like an extremely risky approach that goes well beyond
any right to know information."
"Some of the facility reports were not available, but those that
were provided important information. EPA provides an excellent service
to the public here. I hope it is continued and improved."
"This is appears to be an excellent site. All of the information
about this facility is accurate, and the presentation format is excellent."
"As a past user of other reporting forms I am concerned regarding the quality of the information made so freely available. Specifically, about 3 years ago, my employer received numerous public complaints on an NPDES application largely because of erroneous information placed in the PCS database. I could not get this database corrected. Although ECHO is a relatively quick and easy search tool, unless you have corrected long standing data quality problems, the tool is of no value. In fact, it can harm company's who are in compliance as I described above. I believe that USEPA should spend its time getting the information correct and developing easier methods of ensuring the data is correct before it provides a facile tool for the public to obtain erroneous information. This is frankly a case of the cart before the horse. I am opposed to these tools until you have corrected obvious problems.
It should not be up to the source to ensure that correct information
is entered into your database by periodically reviewing your database.
Once incorrect information is in your database, it appears impossible to
"Overall, the ECHO project is pretty nice and allows a user
to go to one site to access compliance data on a facility. However,
if the facility has had a violation or issue of non-compliance,
there doesn't seem to be a way to find out what the violation actually
was. In past experience, the press and neighboring residents see
a violation and assume the worst, even if it was just a minor paperwork
"I am appauled that you are providing this information via the web.
With the world terrorist climate as it is now, being on alert in the USA,
you are giving away targets. I suggest you make this type of information
available but not necessarily via the web medium."
"I write an environmental news column, so I browsed through available
information for a number of sites in my area, to see how easily I could
find specific details about violations by specific companies.
"The site is easy to navigate. The information is useful. The web
page designed did a good job of putting the information in a straightforward,
"Absolutely wonderful! Site functions very well at all levels
and is quite easy to use. Please graduate it from pilot to full
"I think there should be some distinction made in ECHO between
administrative violations and chemical discharges with real or potential
ecological impact. Further, I think there should be some indication
as to whether the facility has had a history of violations longer
than the 2 years currently posted, perhapps a "First Incident"
or "No Previous Violations" column."
"This is a great system for me to find out background information
on sites. However this information is limited in its scope and therefore
I would like to see information on the agency that provided this information
so that during the course of an investigation I can contact the agency
that generated this information (Whether it be by state, local or a federal
agency and a contact name)."
"I think the site is wonderful. It is about time we had a site like
this. Kudos to EPA. The site seems to contain the information I would like
"I'd like to recommend the following change for how data is listed in the Inspection and Enforcement Summary Data Section of the Detailed Facility Report on ECHO.
If there is no information in the databases for inspections and enforcement, I'd suggest that the listing in this summary under Date of Last Inspection and Formal Enf Act should say "no data records returned" instead of saying "never" for inspections and "0" for formal enf. actions.
Listing it this way in the summary section would be consistent with how
it is listed in the specific sections on Inspection History and Formal
Enforcement Actions when no data are detected for these components. In
addition, it is more accurate to say "no data records returned"
than to say "never" or "0" since data are not always
entered into the databases for all inspections and formal enforcement actions
that have been performed."
"Great database! Very useful information on local companies. Hope
you can make this a permanent database. Very useful to the public."
"Very impressive online compliance history program, particularly
the linked area demographic information that is presented for each facility.
One suggestion is to include a list of the actual census tract numbers
used to provide the data for the demographic "snapshot" for each
"I think it is very important for citizens to have easy access to
these kinds of public records."
"Please reform the 500 record maximum command. One cannot, for example,
examine Chicago because such an inquiry returns 850+ records. At least
provide the downloadable command for delimited text. Also, St. Louis records
will not come up if the query has a period following St in St. Louis."
"Also, what a great tool for the environmental professional to use
when deciding to seek employment with a company. This is a nice tool."
"This is an impressive and valuable resource for citizens and communities
located near industrial facilities. Even though I have participated in
a Citizen Advisory Panel to the South Baltimore chemical industry, I have
never received information on most of these non-compliance and enforcement
activities. Keep up the good work!"
"On the detailed facility report forms, it would be more helpful
when hitting the 'data dictionary' button to receive a pop-up window, rather
than a straight link where I'm taken away from the information I'm looking
at. The site in general is extremely helpful!"
"I am writing to comment on the ECHO database. In general, I believe
it is an excellent source of information and appreciate EPA's efforts to
continue to provide information to the public in a user friendly and useful
Again, I appreciate EPA's efforts at taking information generated and
submitted to EPA and putting it into a format that allows access by the
"I just tried the new ECHO site and I think it's great that EPA
has finally allowed the public access to this critical information. I just
wish there was more information accessible and also - provide some sort
of glossary of terms or key words legend. Great job!!"
"I've found this site helpful in doing my job. Just like FED OSHA
webpage on having to check an employer site for prior inspections this
site does the same. Keep up the good work."
"I did a quick test to see what would show up when I ran some queries. I entered "--", but found that only a few of the -- facilities here in MN actually came up in the report. Since the -- facility in , MN is one of the state's largest air polluters, I was surprised not to see it on the report. So, I did a specific search for "-- - all programs" - to my further surprise, nothing came up. Only when I did an "Air Data" search of "--" did the -- facility appear (along with several other facilities that ought to have appeared on the second search of --, MN).
I think you need to check your system links to be sure that a query on a specific town brings up all the facilities in that community. Not everyone will know what kind of permits and/or violations a particular facility has had.
Also, it would be helpful to have a link for more information regarding the specifics of the violations for each facility where there is a "yes" answer for violation or significant violation. This may be a pretty complex link to set up, so at a minimum, there should be a contact person and number or email where people can more information about the specifics.
This website is a great idea. Hope you are able to get rid of some of
the bugs and make links to places where people can get more information.
It could be a very powerful tool for the public and local government to
learn about what is happening in their communities."
"The Guide to Regulated Facilities is fairly difficult to locate on the site (you have to know it's there to actually look for it, as it doesn't appear on any links listed on the home page - the only place I could find it was on the site map). It also doesn't get at what I was looking for - a way to link into actual information about a facility or a contact name/number where actual information could be found. From the site I can tell that a facility had a violation, but cannot tell what the violation was, what chemicals it involved or how much, and it's not clear to me looking at the site where I could get that information.
The most up-to-date information in the "related links" section
appears to be Env. Defense's TRI scorecard website, which gives 2000 data
- so that doesn't include the data being reported in ECHO, which identifies
violations within the past 2 years. Does EPA have a more updated version
of TRI available? If so, I'd suggest that should be added to the related
links section and have a "clickable" button or text on the facility
violations report pages that help get people there without a lot of searching
around. If newer TRI data isn't available, then perhaps you could list
a central number or email in each region where people could find more info.
on a particular facility? I think it's a problem letting people know that
violations occur but not giving them an easy way to find out what the violations
were - it's frustrating for many and others will make "mountains out
of molehills" by citing "violations" without knowing what
the facts are."
"The enforcement history only displays data for the past two years.
That is too short. The period should be 10 years in order to be useful."
"The site is very comprehensive, and will be able to offer much
more assistance to those looking for answers than their previous database.
I will pass this information along so more people can use it, and offer
their comments. Hopefully the polluters will not be able to shoot this
"Search results (summary by zip) don't differentiate between inspections
for different media. Some facilities show no inspections in last 2 years,
however they have received CAA inspections, just no RCRA inspections. Public
will misread this as evidence that nobody is inspecting these facilities."
"It would be helpful if one could identify other facilities
mapped nearby the target facility (e.g., by moving the cursor over
a square, the name of the facility would be displayed)."
"I support this effort thank you for making this information
"Making this easier to search seems counterproductive to homeland security objectives. Maybe my problem is more the amount of info available to just anyone. Limits might be in order.
Easy to navigate. Had a more difficult time finding the test site than
I did moving around on the site itself."
"This is one of the most frightening things I have yet to see on the internet. With the amount of information contained on this site, the EPA might as well just give terrorists weapons instead of being in the business of protecting the environment. I am a professional engineer in the consulting industry and have feared the day that this site became active because it serves no purpose to the lay public and unfortunately seems to aid terrorists in locating our facilities with SIC codes of interest to them, or locations that may be of strategic value during certain times.
Please re-think where you are going with this....For my safety and the
"Excellent website, easy to navigate and understand."
"While I was happy to see that the EPA is making an effort to inform
the public of environmental violations (I believe each person has an absolute
right to know what potentially dangerous materials he or she is being subjected
to), I was frustrated to find that the specifics of the violations/actions
were "not available." In the end, this site seems like on more
way in which our government, while seeming to serve the people, in reality
"This site looks as though it will be extremely helpful for the
commercial real estate industry."
"Thank you for providing this website. I found it easy to use and
to search. Please make this website a permanent part of the EPA's website."
"Very Impressive. The ECHO web site provides valuable insight as
to industrial problems and potential environmental & community concerns,
as well as environmental areas regulators should review."
"I think this is a great start. What a wonderful way to get public involvement, community stewardship, and self-regulation practices to work together.
I would like to see more detail accessible, like water and soil contamination,
plume and contaminated area profiles. it would be nice to know who had
what contaminant in the water nearby and who was responsible. The community
could help pressure clean up actions and the business could demonstrate
what steps they are taking [not taking] to remediate problems.
"ECHO is using standard industrial classification (SIC) numbers.
It would be more beneficial to use the new North American Industry
Classification System (NAICS) which is more specific."
"I have researched your proposed database and wish to offer the
Thank you for the opportunity to comment."
"Thank you for this new site. I really appreciate the opportunity
to see how well the companies in my community are complying with
our environmental law!!"
"I am a Certified Financial Planner licensee and serve over 300
clients and investors. The database now publicly available on the
Internet through the ECHO system will aid the investing public in
making informed decisions. Transparency and disclosure requirements
are a good start."
"The ECHO database is a tremendous resource that should be made permanently available to the public. The information on individual sites within a community allows the public the data to assess whether pollution in increasing in their community. The graphing and mapping functions greatly enhance this capability.
From an investor's perspective, we would like the EPA to take one step
further and allow users of the system to make information available on
a company basis. Currently the database only provides site-specific information.
To truly understand the environmental risks of a company it is important
to be able to summarize the information from all of its sites."
Caller called in to compliment the website. Caller found ECHO very accurate and was extremely impressed with the wealth of knowledge presented.
Caller also suggested (for future upgrading to the website) that the
limit on number of records returned be exceeded, allowing one to be able
to scroll through the pages of the records returned.
Caller liked the site, and is interested to look at his competitors.