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®: CRE Regulatory Action of the Week

EPA Establishes Error Reporting and Correction Process for "TRI" Database

The CRE has a continuing interest in improving the quality of data and information that Federal agencies disseminate to the public, including through the Internet. The CRE is pleased to report that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a publicly-available error notification and correction process for the Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) database.

The public can access the TRI database from the EPA Home Page ( by clicking on "Information Sources" in the left-side sidebar, then clicking on "Databases and Software", then on "Envirofacts", then on "Toxic Release Inventory".

Once at the "TRI Query Form" Web page, the user can access reporting facilities by a variety of means (name of facility, ZIP code, etc.). When a facility-specific "TRIS Query Results" report appears, there will be a red "button" in the upper right-hand corner of the "Envirofacts Warehouse" heading, labeled "Report Error".

Clicking on "Report Error" produces an online form, "Error Notification", that any user can fill out to report a known or suspected error in a facility's TRI data as presented in the EPA TRI Website. ( Persons who report errors are required to provide their name, address, telephone number and E-mail address. EPA says that the identifying information will be used only to inform the submitter about the progress in investigating the error and to ask for additional information if needed. EPA will not accept anonymously submitted error reports.

Information that the submitter may provide includes identification of the person's affiliation or organization (for example: "Regulated Facility", "General Public").

The "Error Notification" page also provides entry fields to describe the error, the suggested correction, and where the error was found. The page provides "Tips on how to successfully describe an error".

EPA will route the error report to the appropriate EPA or State environmental agency personnel who have authority to make corrections. As part of the "Error Notification" page, EPA provides a viewable and downloadable flow chart that shows how error notification reports will be handled.

EPA says: "Please bear in mind that this Integrated Error Correction Process should be used only to report data errors within Envirofacts at this time. It will be expanded to other Agency resources later in calendar year 2000."

Errors may also be reported to EPA by telephone, FAX, E-mail, or in writing. Phone numbers and E-mail and mail addresses are provided on the "Error Notification" Web page.

CRE commends EPA for establishing this readily available error correction process for the TRI database, open to all responsible interested parties. This process, especially when expanded to other EPA databases, should be very helpful to all parties for identifying and correcting errors that occur in EPA databases.

CRE will continue to work with EPA and with OMB and others to establish an administrative appeal process and judicial review of any unsatisfactory final agency decisions that may occur with respect to the error correction notifications.

CRE invites all interested parties to submit comments on these issues to CRE's Interactive Public Docket.

Please click below to submit comments regarding the EPA's "TRI" Database.

EPA's "TRI" Database: Interactive Public Docket

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