November 30, 2020

EPA’s Inspector General Issues Management Alert: “Certain Toxic Release Inventory Data Disclosed to the Public Are Inaccurate”

From the Office of the Inspector General–Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

While conducting the Audit of the Impact of Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) Late Reporters on the EPA’s Annual TRI National Analysis (Project No. OA&E-FY18-0002), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Office of Inspector General (OIG) decided to issue an immediate management alert informing the agency of our discovery that its TRI data pertaining to releases of hazardous substances from Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) are inaccurate.

As a result, the public is not receiving complete and timely information about environmental conditions affecting human health.

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We examined the EPA’s public TRI release data and the impact of the data on the agency’s annual TRI National Analysis.

During our review, the OIG identified discrepancies between (1) the total pounds of chemicals released to the environment as reported in the publicly available TRI data for reporting years 2013–2017 and (2) the information that the EPA provided to us separately on the total pounds of chemicals released. The OIG’s identification of these discrepancies led to the EPA’s discovery that total release calculations provided by the publicly available database do not properly include the POTW release amounts.

The effect for those that query these data, including nearby communities or worldwide researchers, is that they will not always have accurate or consistent information regarding releases of the hazardous substances from POTWs that may significantly impact human health and the environment. The OIG’s audit of the EPA’s TRI data is ongoing, but we found this information to be of sufficient concern to warrant immediate reporting.

Read the Source Document (via EPA/OIG) and Embedded Below

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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