Discharge Monitoring Report (DMR) Pollutant Loading Tool
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Note: The tool uses discharge monitoring report (DMR) data from ICIS-NPDES to calculate pollutant discharge amounts. EPA has verified the accuracy of the tool’s calculations. EPA has also performed a limited review of the underlying data that has focused on facilities with the largest amounts of pollutant discharges. Due to the large amount of DMR data, some errors exist in ICIS-NPDES DMR data. Please see the User Guide (29 pp, 2.6MB), Frequently Asked Questions and Answers, and Error Correction page for instructions on how to use the tool and how to correct errors in ICIS-NPDES. The tool also uses wastewater pollutant discharge data from the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). You can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions about the tool. You can sign up for our e-mail news bulletin and be notified when new data, enhancements, or training materials are available.
About the Data
- Data Sources for the DMR Pollutant Loading Tool
- Data Scope and Limitations
- Watershed Data and Maps
The Loading Tool uses discharge monitoring and permit data from Integrated Compliance Information System - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES). ICIS-NPDES is a database that automates entering, updating, and retrieving discharge monitoring and permit data.
Dischargers submit discharge monitoring data to their permitting authority using discharge monitoring report (DMR) forms. The permitting authority then enters these data into ICIS-NPDES and checks whether the discharger is in compliance with the NPDES permit requirements. Facilities report pollutant discharge monitoring data in their DMR as mass-based quantities (e.g., pounds per day) and/or concentrations (e.g., mg/L); however, discharges are reported using a wide variety of units.
Permit data include NPDES permit limits for water quality parameters (e.g., dissolved oxygen and temperature), specific chemicals (e.g., phenol), bulk parameters (e.g., biochemical oxygen demand), and flow. The permitting authority enters these data into ICIS-NPDES. ICIS-NPDES also include information on the facility’s permit requirements, such as monitoring frequency. The ICIS-NPDES database:
- Is national in scope, including data from all 50 states and 21 U.S. territories and tribes;
- Contains discharge data that facilities determine through effluent chemical analyses and metered flow; and
- Include information for facilities in all point source categories that discharge directly to receiving streams.
The tool also includes wastewater pollutant discharge data from EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). Data is available for the years 2007 through 2012. Users can search TRI data to find the facilities with the largest pollutant discharges to surface waters or sewage treatment plants (a.k.a. Publicly-Owned Treatment Works or “POTWs”). Users can also compare the DMR data search results against TRI data search results and vice versa. The tool clearly labels the source of data when displaying search results but does not mix TRI or DMR data when calculating pollutant discharges. See the Basics of TRI Reporting and Factors to Consider When Using TRI Data for more information.
Other data sources used by the Loading Tool include:
- Watershed Assessment Tracking and Environmental ResultS (WATERS) database for retrieving information about receiving waterbodies. WATERS derives some its data from EPA’s Assessment, TMDL Tracking and ImplementatioN System (ATTAINS) database, USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS), and the USGS National Hydrography Dataset (NHD)
- Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS) - providing information about treatment technologies in place at municipal wastewater treatment plants (a.k.a. Publicly-Owned Treatment Plants or POTWs).
- Facility Registry Service (FRS) - providing facility location information and linking ICIS-NPDES facilities to other EPA programs, such as TRI.
- Substance Registry Services (SRS) - the Agency’s central system for information about substances that are tracked or regulated by EPA or other sources. It is the authoritative resource for basic information about chemicals, biological organisms, and other substances of interest to EPA and its state and tribal partners.
- STORET (STOrage and RETrieval) Data Warehouse - a repository for water quality, biological, and physical data.
|Data Source||Contact||Process||Update Schedule||Last Update|
|Integrated Compliance Information System - National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (ICIS-NPDES)||EPA/Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA)||Prior to 2014, EPA manually pulled data from ICIS-NPDES on an annual basis and made monthly error correction updates. In August 2014, EPA began using a continuous process to capture changes in ICIS-NPDES (inserts, updates, deletes). EPA also automatically calculates pollutant discharge estimates on a weekly schedule.||Weekly||Changes in ICIS-NPDES data are captured continuously and compiled. The Loading Tool makes these data and the related pollutant loading estimates available on the following Monday, no later than 5 pm.|
|Toxics Release Inventory (TRI)||EPA/Office of Environmental Information (OEI)||EPA downloads data from the EPA TRI website (i.e., U.S. 1 and 3b tables).||Annual||November 2015|
|TRI Pollution Wastewater Treatment Information||EPA/OEI||EPA downloads data from a TRI web service.||Annual||August 2014|
|Clean Watersheds Needs Survey (CWNS)||EPA/OWM||These data are manually provided by EPA's Office of Wastewater Management (OWM) when the CWNS data are available.||Approximately every four years (2008, 2012, etc.)||2008|
|Substance Registry Service (SRS)||EPA/OEI||These data are automatically retrieved.||Weekly|
|Crosswalk linking pollutants contributing to a waterbody impairment||EPA/OECA||EPA updates its ICIS-NPDES parameter to waterbody impairment data crosswalk manually on an annual basis.||Annual||June 2014|
|Impaired Waterbodies||EPA/OECA||EPA imports data from ATTAINS from the ECHO Data Mart.||Weekly|
|Counties with ESA-listed aquatic species||U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, ECOS PM||EPA requests the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manually extract data from the Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS). These data are then updated in the database supporting the Loading Tool.||As provided by the program office||2013|
|HUC-12s||EPA/OW||EPA imports the HUC-12 information from the ECHO Data Mart, which uses the Office of Water's WATERS database.||Weekly|
|NAICS Codes||U.S. Census Bureau||EPA manually downloads data from the U.S. Census Bureau website.||After each future NAICS update||2012 (Tool is using the most currently available data)|
|Steam Electric Industry - EIA/NPDES ID Match-Up||EPA/OW||EPA's Office of Water provided these data to OECA for inclusion in the Loading Tool.
Steam Electric Industry - EIA/NPDES ID Match-Up (XLSX) (954K)
|Update via error correction||2012|
|Facility Program Flags|
|CWA Pretreatment Program Flag (PRET)||EPA/OWM||
EPA's Office of Water provided these data to OECA for inclusion in the Loading Tool.
|Update via error correction||May 2011|
|POTWs with Combines Sewer Overflows (CSOs)||EPA/OWM||EPA's Office of Water provided these data to OECA for inclusion in the Loading Tool.
POTWs with Combined Sewer Overflows Facility List (CSV) (121 K)
|Update via error correction||February 2009|
|Pesticide-Producing Establishments||Envirofacts||EPA's Section Seven Tracking System (SSTS) tracks pesticide producing establishments. The Loading Tool's Advanced Search allows you to identify facilities that are in the SSTS. EPA manually downloads data from the FRS EZ Query using 'SSTS' in the 'PGM_SYS_ACRNM' filter.
Pesticide-Producing Establishments List (CSV) (130 K)
|As provided by the program office||2013|
|Abandoned Hazardous Waste Sites||Envirofacts||EPA's Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) database supports the clean up of abandoned hazardous waste sites (a.k.a. 'Superfund' sites). The Loading Tool's Advanced Search allows you to identify facilities that are in CERCLIS. EPA manually downloads data from the FRS EZ Query using 'CERCLIS' in the 'PGM_SYS_ACRNM' filter.
Abandoned Hazardous Waste Sites List (CSV) (215 K)
|As provided by the program office||2013|
|Oil Spill Prevention Program||Envirofacts||EPA's OIL database contains information on Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) and Facility Response Plan (FRP) subject facilities to prevent and respond to oil spills. The Loading Tool's Advanced Search allows you to identify facilities that are in OIL. EPA manually downloads data from the FRS EZ Query using 'OIL' in the 'PGM_SYS_ACRNM' filter.
Oil Spill Prevention Program Facility List (CSV) (455 K)
|As provided by the program office||2013|
|Facilities in Chesapeake Bay TMDL||Chesapeake Bay TMDL, Appendix Q||EPA's Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay lists facilities in the Chesapeake Bay that contribute to the water quality impairment. These facilities are listed in Appendix Q-1 of the TMDL.
Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Facility List (CSV) (524 K)
|Update via error correction||August 2014|
Before you begin your searches, there are some things you should know about the scope and limitations of the pollutant loadings calculated by the Loading Tool:
While the Loading Tool includes discharges for more than 60,000 facilities, it is not a complete inventory of all discharges permitted under the Clean Water Act.
Although the Clean Water Act requires all point source dischargers to obtain a NPDES permit and monitor their wastewater, not all facility, permit, or discharge monitoring data are uploaded into ICIS-NPDES. EPA places greater priority on major facilities, and requires authorized states to provide more information about the compliance status of these dischargers. Specifically, EPA policy requires the permitting authority to enter facility, permit, and DMR information from “major” dischargers into either ICIS-NPDES. EPA policy requires a more limited set of data be shared with EPA through data entry into ICIS-NPDES (PDF) (14 pp, 4.6 MB) for “non-major” (or “minor”) facilities. Many authorized states also transmit facility, permit, and DMR data for non-major dischargers to the ICIS-NPDES databases. The links below detail the amount of DMR data that the states share with EPA’s ICIS-NPDES database. These data come from EPA’s State Review Framework, which allows EPA to identify recommendations for improvement to ensure fair and consistent enforcement and compliance programs across the states. There are also differences between the states on sharing facility level data with EPA’s ICIS-NPDES database for general permit covered facilities (e.g., oil and gas extraction facilities, construction stormwater sites). EPA and states issue general permits to increase the efficiency of the permit program as multiple similar facilities can be regulated under one permit.
Use the State Statistics and Loadings Search to download state statistics and loadings for each year.
The Loading Tool contains information for industrial and municipal point source dischargers. Other types of Clean Water Act releases that are not available in the Loading Tool include:
- Wastewater releases from industrial facilities that are connected to a publicly-owned treatment works (POTW) sewerage system, regulated through the CWA Pretreatment Program;
- Biosolids monitoring data, regulated through the CWA Biosolids Program;
- Discharges related to wet-weather events, such as stormwater from municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), stormwater from industrial facilities, discharges from construction activities, combined sewer overflows, sanitary sewer overflows, and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).
The Loading Tool includes approximately 1,000 pollutant parameters including specific chemicals (e.g., phenol), bulk parameters (e.g., biochemical oxygen demand), temperature, and wastewater flow. However, these pollutants do not account for all pollutants discharged to U.S. waters.
- ICIS-NPDES only includes information about discharges of pollutants that a facility is required by permit to monitor; facilities are not required to monitor or report all pollutants they actually discharge.
- Discharge data are entered into ICIS-NPDES using a variety of measurement units. The Loading Tool can only calculate mass discharges for pollutants that are measured either as mass quantities or concentrations. Therefore some pollutants, such as toxicity parameters measured as percent, are excluded from the Loading Tool. Further, the Loading Tool cannot calculate a load for concentration measurements if a wastewater flow measurement is not provided.
Additionally, EPA policy requirement requires a more limited set of facility, permit and DMR data be shared with EPA through data entry into ICIS-NPDES for non-major facilities. Data sharing for these non-major facilities varies across the different state NPDES permit programs. Consequently, the Loading Tool will not identify all non-major facilities if you limit a search to a particular pollutant. The Loading Tool uses permit data to count facilities when the user searches on a particular pollutant.
Matching Facilities to Watersheds
The Loading Tool matches facilities to receiving watersheds based on a facility’s latitude and longitude coordinates and watershed spatial data in the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Watershed Boundary Dataset. The Loading Tool cannot establish a match between a facility and a watershed if either:
- The facility does not have latitude or longitude coordinates; or
- There are no spatial data for the receiving watershed.
The Loading Tool uses names from the USGS Geographic Names Information System (GNIS). The GNIS is closely integrated with the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD), which makes these data more useful for plotting on maps and for watershed modeling and other research. Not all waterbodies receiving wastewater discharges have names in the GNIS and the not all names in the GNIS match the names that facilities provide in their NPDES permit application.
See Watershed Data for further information about how the Loading Tool matches DMR facilities to receiving watersheds.
DMR data may be entered into the ICIS-NPDES database manually, which can lead to data-entry errors. The database supporting this online tool uses data extracts from ICIS with regular error correction updates from EPA's Integrated Error Correction Process. The Integrated Error Correction Process allows EPA to track and incorporate into the Loading Tool database error corrections submitted by the public. EPA also works with states to identify any error corrections that they make to their data outside of the Integrated Error Correction Process.
Some facilities have intermittent discharges and may have one or more outfalls that don’t discharge for one or more months. ICIS-NPDES has ways of identifying when there is no discharge at a particular outfall for an entire monitoring period. In such cases, the Loading Tool does not calculate pollutant loads for these outfalls during these monitoring periods.
EPA also developed a methodology with the states to estimate intermittent discharges that occurring within a monitoring period (e.g., there is a discharge from the outfall but it only occurs two days out of the monthly monitoring period). Specifically, the Loading Tool uses three ICIS-NPDES "Duration of Discharge" codes for identifying these intermittent dischargers: 50037, 82517, and 81381. The Loading Tool will automatically adjust the pollutant loading calculation such that the calculation only estimates pollutant discharges for the time when the outfall is discharging (e.g., two days in the month instead of the entire month).
However, there is a limitation with ICIS-NPDES data in that not all NPDES permits require permittees to submit these Duration of Discharge codes when there are intermittent discharges that occur within a monitoring period. Consequently, the tool may overestimate pollutant discharges for these intermittent dischargers that do not report these Duration of Discharge codes. NPDES permittees with intermittent discharges are encouraged to engage with their permit writers to add one of these Duration of Discharge codes to their DMR. NPDES permittees may also contact EPA (email@example.com) if these Duration of Discharge codes are not yet in their DMR.
TRI reporting is limited to industrial facilities (i.e., POTWs do not report to TRI) and not all industry sectors report to TRI. Additionally, small establishments (less than 10 employees) are not required to report, nor are facilities that don't meet the reporting thresholds. Thus, facilities reporting to TRI may be a subset of an industry. See the Basics of TRI Reporting and Factors to Consider When Using TRI Data for more information.
TRI reporting focuses on toxic pollutant discharges and does not include common wastewater pollutants like Total Suspended Solids and Biochemical Oxygen Demand, which can be important factors when assessing the potential impact to surface waters. Additionally, the TRI Program does not require additional monitoring, so reported releases are often, in part, based on estimates instead of measurements, and due to TRI guidance, may differ greatly from DMR data, especially at facilities with large wastewater flows. Finally, certain chemicals (e.g., polycyclic aromatic compounds (PACs), dioxin and dioxin-like compounds, metal compounds) are reported as a class, not as individual compounds. Because the individual compounds in most classes have widely varying toxic effects, the potential toxicity of chemical releases may be inaccurately estimated.
Matching Facilities to Watersheds or to POTWs
TRI reporting does require facilities to report the names of the surface waterbodies and POTWs that receive their wastewater discharges. See Sections 5.3 and 6.1 in TRI Form R. However, these reported names are not standardized or indexed to USGS's NHD or EPA's Federal Registry Service (FRS).
See Watershed Data for further information about how the Loading Tool matches TRI facilities to receiving watersheds.
The TRI Program conducts a number of activities every year to ensure the quality of TRI data reported to EPA. These activities range from providing extensive reporting guidance, intelligent reporting software, and training to facilities prior to the reporting deadline as well as data validation and analysis after the data are received. See the TRI Data Quality Program Information page for more information on these activities.
In addition to calculating pollutant loads, the Loading Tool matches pollutant discharges to receiving watersheds and retrieves the name of the receiving waterbody and available information about its impairment status.
The U.S. Geologic Service (USGS) defines watersheds in the U.S. and Caribbean using unique Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUC). These codes consist of two to twelve digits based on six levels of classification:
- Region (first-level, 2-digit HUC);
- Subregion (second-level, 4-digit HUC);
- Accounting unit (third-level, 6-digit HUC);
- Cataloguing unit (fourth-level, 8-digit HUC);
- Watershed (fifth-level, 10-digit HUC); and
- Subwatershed (sixth-level, 12-digit HUC).
The Loading Tool uses the 12-digit HUC (HUC-12) to identify watersheds in its searches. The Loading Tool uses HUC-12s to define major U.S. watersheds to provide geographic search criteria for EZ Search, TRI Search, Advanced Search and several Everyday Searches. Please review HUC Maps and Codes for Major U.S. Watersheds for more details.
The Loading Tool relates facility discharges to HUC-12s and uses the HUC-12s to retrieve other watershed information, including the Waterbody Name, REACH Code, and an indicator for whether the stream is listed on EPA’s 303d list of impaired waters. The Loading Tool uses the ECHO Data Mart to obtain this information.
The Loading Tool uses several web services to provide additional watershed information. Table 1 provides further information about web services consumed by the Loading Tool.
- UPSTREAM/DOWNSTREAM: The Loading Tool uses this service to obtain the locations and unique identifiers of the nearest upstream and downstream watershed monitoring stations from the facility. The map on the Facility Results page displays the station locations and provides a link to additional station information from EPA’s STOrage and RETrieval Data Warehouse (STORET).
|Area of DMR LT||Description||Value(s) Passed||Value(s) Received||Source|
|Facility Information pages||Plot on Google map markers showing the nearest upstream and downstream STORET watershed monitoring stations with links in the pop-up bubbles to their station information page.||REACH code||For each station:
station_id (to plug in hyperlink to station page)
https://ofmpub.epa.gov/waters10/UpstreamDownStream.Service?pNavigationType=[upstream = UT or UM; downstream = DD or DM] &pStartReachcode= [REACH code]&pTraversalSummary=TRUE&pFlowlinelist=FALSE&pEventList=STORET&pStopDistancekm=50
For more information, see the WATERS Upstream/Downstream Service.
The EZ search provides a drop down menu of major US Watersheds that users can select for their query. Many of these watersheds comprise several HUC-12s.
The maps below show the boundaries of each Major U.S. Watershed as defined by the Loading Tool. EPA’s menu of major U.S. watersheds includes the following:
- Albermarle and Pamlico Sounds (PDF) (1 pg, 538 K)
- Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin (1 pg, 605 K)
- Chesapeake Bay (PDF) (1 pg, 776 K)
- Columbia River Basin (PDF) (1 pg, 1.4 MB)
- Delaware Bay (PDF) (1 pg, 178 K)
- Delaware River Watershed (PDF) (1 pg, 170 K)
- Great Lakes Watershed (PDF) (1 pg, 762 K)
- Long Island Sound (PDF) (1 pg, 410 K)
- Lower Columbia River Estuary (PDF) (1 pg, 297 K)
- Mississippi-Atchafalaya River Basin
- Mobile Bay (PDF) (1 pg, 223 K)
- Ohio River Basin (PDF) (1 pg, 1.3 MB)
- Puget Sound Watershed (PDF) (1 pg, 527 K)
- San Francisco Watershed (PDF) (1 pg, 361 K)
- Tampa Bay (PDF) (1 pg, 241 K)
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