8/15/17, updated 9/1/2017
EPA Posts Electronic Biosolids Data
Beginning this past winter, U. S. EPA required most biosolids management programs to submit their annual biosolids reports electronically. Annual biosolids reports are required by 40 CFR Part 503 and must be completed by February 19th, with data from the prior year.
Now, the 2016 data collected this year are being provided online for public consumption through the standard EPA ECHO database system. A total of 1,955 reports are included. The system allows for searches using a variety of options, including by geography, by type of biosolids processing, or by classification, etc. It includes data submitted in the Part 503 reports and links to already-existing facility and permitting data, which includes records of violations and enforcement actions. The system does not currently provide Part 503 reports submitted on paper for 2016; those will be added over time.
According to an EPA news release: "It provides access to biosolids-specific permit, inspection, violation, enforcement, and penalty related data to users for the first time in an easy-to-use search tool. Also, all of the Biosolids Annual Report data submitted to EPA electronically can be downloaded in one file from ECHO’s Data Downloads page." The Data downloads page is here: https://echo.epa.gov/tools/data-downloads
Having biosolids program data online will help the biosolids management profession better understand trends, while providing the public with further information about this important national recycling and management program. However, data quality and presentation are an important concern as the new online system rolls out and is tweaked over the next year. Biosolids management programs are advised to test the new system, review the online presentation and accuracy of their data, and provide feedback to U. S. EPA.
Look for the new biosolids search options here: https://echo.epa.gov/facilities/facility-search?mediaSelected=bio
If you are interested in helping NEBRA evaluate this new tool and compile whatever useful data it may provide regarding biosolids management in New England, please contact the NEBRA office.