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Health, Science, Environment

EPA releases new online tool for mapping water pollution

(via flickr/benclark)
Eads Bridge connecting St. Louis and East St. Louis over the Mississippi River. A new tool from the Environmental Protection Agency allows the public to access information about pollutants released into local waterways.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released a new tool that allows the public to access information about pollutants that are released into local waterways.

The Discharge Monitoring Report Pollutant Loading Tool brings together millions of records and lets users search for and map water pollution.

"Transparency leads to greater accountability and better information about pollution in our nation's communities," assistant administrator for the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Cynthia Giles said. "By making the data we collect available in easy to use tools, we are keeping Americans informed about the health of the environment in their neighborhoods."

The DMR Pollutant Loading Tool searches "top ten" lists to help identify the facilities and industries that are polluting the most, as well as the water bodies that are being affected. Users can also access links to detailed information about enforcement actions the EPA and states have taken to address discharge violations.

Facilities releasing water pollution directly into waterways must receive a permit to discharge under the Clean Water Act. Each permit sets limits on how much can be discharged. The facilities must also sample their wastewater discharges frequently and report the data to their state EPA permitting authority.

EPA has also added several new features to its Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website, which provides information about inspections, facility compliance, and state and federal enforcement actions.

New features include a tool to search for criminal enforcement cases and web developer tools that make it easy to tap into ECHO reports and maps. Information about these features can be found here

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