WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a “beta” version of a new Web-based tool that allows anyone to search and identify the amount, type, and location of wastewater pollutant discharges and the identity of the discharger. EPA is seeking comments on how to improve this tool and on the accuracy of the discharge-monitoring data supporting it.

This new tool supports the Agency’s Clean Water Act Action Plan, which seeks to improve transparency of information and public knowledge about pollutant releases that may cause water quality impairments. Read about the plan at: www.epa.gov/oecaerth/civil/cwa/cwaenfplan.html.

EPA has designed the tool for two main audiences: (1) members of the general public (concerned citizens, researchers), and (2) technical users (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit writers, watershed modelers, and regulatory agencies). The increased access to wastewater pollutant discharge data will allow for better transparency of wastewater pollutant discharges and enhanced utility of the data. Specifically, technical users of the new tool can enhance their development of NPDES permit effluent limits, improve their watershed pollution budget plans, and refine their modeling of watersheds.

EPA will accept comments on the new tool through Feb. 4, 2011. This time period also will allow reviewers to submit requests to EPA to correct any data they suspect is in error.

To access the “beta” version of the tool, visit www.epa.gov/pollutantdischarges.

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