TRI Data Quality
EPA works continuously to ensure that Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data are accurate and reliable. Steps taken to promote data quality include analyzing data for potential errors, contacting TRI facilities concerning potentially inaccurate submissions, providing guidance on reporting requirements and, as necessary, taking enforcement actions against facilities that fail to comply with TRI requirements.
- What resources does EPA provide to help facilities report correct TRI data?
- What data quality checks are used to verify the validity of TRI reporting forms after they are received by EPA?
- Are potential data quality issues discussed with the facility that submitted the TRI reporting form?
- Does EPA have the statutory authority to ensure compliance with the TRI reporting requirements?
What resources does EPA provide to help facilities report accurate TRI data?
EPA's TRI-MEweb online reporting application guides facilities through the TRI reporting process and contains extensive data quality checks that prevent common errors and alert users to possible errors that can be corrected before the TRI forms are submitted.
EPA annually updates the TRI Reporting Forms and Instructions document to help facilities determine and complete their TRI reporting obligations, and also provides detailed guidance documents about specific chemicals and industry sectors in TRI-MEweb and on the TRI website. EPA also operates the TRI Information Center for facilities preferring to access live assistance. Information Center staff can help with a variety of TRI regulatory and reporting issues, including questions about TRI reporting requirements and TRI-MEweb form completion. Note that the Information Center is temporarily not handling TRI questions as of September 15, 2017. Please refer to GuideME for reporting-related questions. Additionally, the CDX Helpdesk remains accessible for TRI-MEweb support.
What data quality checks are used to verify the validity of TRI reporting forms after they are received by EPA?
EPA conducts an extensive data quality analysis after TRI reporting forms are received. EPA first identifies TRI forms containing potential errors, then EPA staff contact the facilities that submitted these reports to discuss the potential errors. If errors are found, the facilities then should submit a correct report to EPA and the appropriate state or tribe.
EPA conducts many different analyses to identify errors in TRI reports. Examples of these analyses include:
- Facilities that reported a large change in disposal or other release and/or other waste management quantities for certain chemicals of concern (with a focus on air and water releases),
- Facilities that have potential errors in reporting dioxin and dioxin-like compounds,
- Facilities that transmitted but failed to certify their reports,
- Facilities that reported large quantities of volatile organic chemicals on-site but reported small quantities of air releases,
- Facilities that reported the same quantities on multiple sections of the reporting Form R for more than 2 years, and
- Facilities that reported significantly different data to other EPA programs.
This effort helps ensure the quality and accuracy of the TRI data and of the annual National Analysis report, and makes TRI a more reliable starting point for understanding how communities and the environment may be exposed to toxic chemicals.
Are potential data quality issues discussed with the facility that submitted the TRI reporting form?
Once data have been added by a facility, the TRI-MEweb reporting application provides a notification of potential data quality issues before a TRI reporting form is sent to EPA. Once submitted, EPA analyzes the data for potential errors and informs facilities if any are identified. If the facility determines that an error occurred, the facility may correct the error and resubmit the TRI reporting form. If a potential error could significantly affect the validity of the annual National Analysis report, EPA Headquarters may contact the facility for clarification and/or refer the issue to the appropriate EPA regional office for further investigation.
Does EPA have the statutory authority to ensure compliance with TRI reporting requirements?
Section 325(c) authorizes civil and administrative penalties for noncompliance with TRI reporting requirements. Section 1101 of Title 18 of the United States Code makes it a criminal offense to falsify information given to the United States Government (including intentionally false records maintained for inspection). The knowing failure to file an EPCRA Section 313 report may be prosecuted as a concealment under the same section. For more information, visit the TRI Compliance and Enforcement webpage.