EPA Records Schedule 060
Status: Final, 02/12/2007
Title: Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS)
Function: 104-010 - Emergency Response
NARA Disposal Authority:
This schedule authorizes the disposition of the record copy in any media (media neutral), excluding any records already in electronic form. Records designated for permanent retention must be transferred to the National Archives in accordance with NARA standards at the time of transfer.
The Emergency Response Notification System (ERNS) is a national computer database used to store information on releases of oil and hazardous substances. ERNS supports the Emergency Response and the Title III program.
The ERNS program is a cooperative effort among EPA Headquarters, the Department of Transportation (DOT), National Transportation Systems Center (NTSC), the ten EPA Regions, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), and the National Response Center (NRC).
ERNS provides the most comprehensive data compiled on release notifications of oil and hazardous substances in the United States. When a release report is submitted to Federal authorities (e.g., NRC or Regional offices), the individual reporting is asked a series of questions regarding the release (e.g., type, location, volume). Information concerning all releases originally reported to the NRC or EPA Regional offices is entered into local computers and transmitted electronically from the NRC or EPA Regional office to the NTSC, where it becomes part of the ERNS national database.
The procedures for maintaining the initial reports differs between the NRC and the EPA Regions. The NRC maintains electronic copies of all spill reports as they were initially received and does not make any changes to spill reports once they have been entered into the system. Reports received by the NRC contain information that may be valuable to the on-scene coordinators, as well as to enforcement personnel. The information received by the NRC is sent to the Regional offices through the Volpe National Transportation Systems Center (VNTSC). Since these reports may be used in enforcement actions, it is necessary to maintain a copy of the spill report as it was originally reported.
Each EPA Region maintains its own Region-specific database, which is a subset of the national data base. Initial spill reports made directly to an EPA Region are maintained as hard copies and kept in the individual Regional office. When additional information on a release notification is obtained, it is also entered at the Regional level and electronically transmitted to the national system. An initial and modified copy of each report is maintained at VNTSC to preserve data integrity.
Item a: Electronic software programs
Delete when discontinued or superseded by routine program updates.
Item b: Input
Follow instructions for EPA 091 - CERCLA 103 Notifications.
Item c: Electronic data
Transfer current data sets to tapes, along with tape layout, block size, and other tape specifications, according to established procedures at end of fiscal year. Current data sets include a consolidation of all ERNS initial input data captured in the monthly backups performed by Regional central computer centers along with the input received from NRC. Instruct NTSD to hold tapes for 30 years, then destroy data through degaussing.
Item d: Output and reports
File with related records and follow instructions for the related records.
Item e: Supporting documentation
Destroy when 15 years old.
ERNS is under the control of the Oil Program Center (OPC) of the Office of Emergency and Remedial Response (OERR) in the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER). OSWER/OERR/OPC staff are directly responsible for implementing the disposition according to items a, c, and e.
All paper copies of initial input records, under item b, held or produced in EPA Regional Hazardous Waste Management offices should be dispositioned according to the instructions for EPA 091 - CERCLA 103 Notifications. These Regional offices are also responsible for the disposition of all input and output systems and ad hoc reports according to the instructions in items b and d.
Output systems containing initial data being transferred from the EPA Regional offices to the NRC are not covered by item d of this series. This initial electronic data is captured by each Regional computer center as part of their routine monthly backups. At the end of each fiscal year, the ERNS data files from each monthly backup are to be consolidated and transferred to NDPD tapes and dispositioned according to item c. This process is necessary to capture the initial input of data which may be necessary for verification of the time and date of the initial notification.
Ad hoc output reports held or produced in all appropriate offices should be handled according to disposition instructions outlined in series item d or, where appropriate, EPA 175 - Print Files.
Records containing any sensitive information must be shredded or otherwise definitively destroyed to protect confidentiality.
Reasons for Disposition:
ERNS tracks initially invalidated data, at a high level. It is used primarily as a preliminary tool to identify potentially hazardous situations and serves as a mechanism to document and verify incident-location information. Initial input by Regional offices is needed for litigation support. In addition, ERNS is used to review trends in material spills and releases. Initial and updated information is used as a basis for reporting and analyzing trends.
Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, Oil Program Center
- Contact: Dana Stalcup
- Telephone: 703-603-8735
EPA 056, EPA 061, EPA 091, EPA 175
Previous NARA Disposal Authority:
EPA Approval: 10/07/1993
NARA Approval: 01/17/1996