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Office of Inspector General

EPA OIG Hotline

What is the EPA OIG?

The Office of Inspector General is an independent organization that performs audits and investigations of the EPA to detect and prevent fraud, waste and abuse. Learn more

About the Hotline

The Office of Inspector General Hotline (OIG) services both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB). The hotline encourages suggestions for assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of agency programs. It also receives complaints of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement in agency programs and operations, and violations of law, regulations and policies by EPA and CSB employees, grantees, contractors and program participants. Complaints and requests may be submitted by anyone, including EPA and CSB employees, participants in EPA and CSB programs, Congress, organizations and members of the public. While resources restrict the OIG from pursuing every allegation, reviews relating to the following topics, known or suspected, are prioritized:

  • Efficiency and effectiveness of agency programs.
  • EPA and CSB-related criminal activity.
  • EPA and CSB contract, procurement and grant fraud.
  • Mismanagement and waste of EPA and CSB resources, including in environmental programs.
  • Theft and misuse of EPA, CSB and other government property.
  • Misconduct by EPA and CSB employees.
  • EPA and CSB computer crimes.
  • Threats in the EPA and CSB workplaces, including specific threats to federal employees.

When determining whether to initiate a new project based on a complaint or request, the OIG further considers the specific criteria (below), weighed against the priority of ongoing work, as well as resource limitations. The OIG gives special consideration to matters raising the threat or potential threat of serious harm to public health or the environment, having clear potential for a substantial return on investment to the taxpayer, or meeting U.S. Department of Justice thresholds for prosecution. Matters indicating imminent and substantial harm to public health or the environment will be immediately referred for action to appropriate federal, state or local officials. 

Specific Criteria (listed without regard to weight or priority)

  • Matter of high public, EPA, CSB or congressional interest
  • Matter implicating high-level officials, for example, political or Senior Executive Service employees
  • Credible allegation of mismanagement of, or waste, fraud or abuse in, EPA or CSB programs or operations, including violations of EPA or CSB requirements, guidelines or policies
  • Credible allegation of violations of civil or criminal statutes, and regulations
  • The OIG hotline does not support emergency responses. In the case of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911. Hotline tips or complaints may be submitted using the online form provided or via U.S. mail, telephone, fax or email. Hotline complaints are reviewed by auditors, evaluators and/or criminal investigators as conditions warrant. 
Upon receipt of a suggestion, allegation or request, the OIG may take any one of the following actions:
  1. Initiate an OIG investigation or audit.
  2. Refer the matter to EPA management for appropriate review and action.
  3. Refer the allegation to the EPA’s Scientific Integrity Officer for appropriate review and action.
  4. Refer the allegation to another federal agency, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  5. Determine that the OIG will not pursue any action or make any referral.

All matters significant enough to require a response are monitored until the necessary resolution action is planned or taken. Allegations with limited specificity or merit may be held in abeyance until further specific details are reported. Complaints are analyzed to identify trends which should be considered in the audit and investigation planning processes.

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Recognizing Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Brochures on Fraud, Waste and Abuse

Recognizing Fraud

Fraud is a false representation about a material fact. It is any intentional deception designed to unlawfully deprive the United States, the EPA or the CSB of something of value or to secure for an individual a benefit, privilege, allowance or consideration to which he or she is not entitled.

Examples of Fraud Indicators (PDF) 

Recognizing Waste

Waste involves the taxpayers not receiving a reasonable value for money in connection with any government-funded activities due to an inappropriate act or omission. Most waste does not involve a violation of law; rather, waste relates primarily to mismanagement, inappropriate actions and inadequate oversight.

Recognizing Abuse 

Abuse involves behavior that is deficient or improper when compared with behavior that a prudent person would consider reasonable and necessary business practice given the facts and circumstances. Abuse also includes misuse of authority or position for personal financial interests or those of an immediate or close family member or business associate. Abuse does not necessarily involve fraud or violation of laws, regulations or provisions of a contract or grant agreement.

Examples of Abuse Indicators (PDF)

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What to Report

Please be as specific as possible. Provide relevant names, dates and times, locations and, where appropriate, include the name of the contractor or grantee, contract or grant numbers, and award dates.

Other Helpful Information to Provide
  • How you became aware of the situation.
  • Effort made to correct the situation.
  • Names of others affected by the situation.
  • Statute or regulation violated, if applicable.
  • What you want the EPA or CSB to do.

Minor incidents, such as minor time and attendance abuse, and misuse of government property, should be reported to appropriate program managers rather than to the OIG. Personnel matters involving requests for individual relief should be handled through the appropriate grievance process with management, and offices responsible for personnel, equal employment and civil rights. 

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How to Contact the Hotline


  1. If you are an EPA or CSB employee, your confidentiality will be protected unless you give your consent or disclosure is unavoidable during the course of an investigation or audit.
  2. If you are not an EPA or CSB employee, and you request confidentiality, your confidentiality will be protected by the OIG to the maximum extent permitted by law (for example, by using applicable exemptions and exclusions of the Freedom of Information Act and applicable exemptions of the Privacy Act).
Email and Postal Mail Telephone and Fax

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General Hotline
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Mailcode 2431T
Washington, DC 20460

Toll-Free: 1-888-546-8740 (Nationwide)
Local: 202-566-2476
Fax: 202-566-2599 (not to exceed 20 pages, including cover sheet and/or contact info.)

If the line is busy due to caller volume, please leave a message and a hotline operator will return your call as soon as possible.

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Information for Whistleblowers

Information about laws protecting individuals who make complaints to the federal government and the role of the EPA’s Whistleblower Protection Coordinator is available on the OIG Whistleblower Protection page.

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OIG Independence of EPA

The EPA's Office of Inspector General is a part of the EPA, although Congress provides our funding separate from the agency, to ensure our independence. We were created pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended Exit.

Environmental Protection Agency  |  Office of Inspector General
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. (2410T)  |  Washington, DC 20460  |  (202) 566-2391
OIG Hotline: 1-888-546-8740.