Environmental Cleanup Site Information is an electronic database that the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has used since 1989 to track sites with known, suspected, or cleaned up hazardous substance contamination. ECSI, which assigns unique identification numbers to individual sites, summarizes information about sites and their investigative/remedial status, as well as Cleanup Program recommendations for further action. ECSI also includes sites at which DEQ has determined that no further action is necessary.
Each ECSI entry contains basic data such as site name and location. For most sites, ECSI also indicates how and when the site became contaminated, qualitative risks the contamination may pose to human health or the environment, investigative and cleanup actions that have occurred, and prioritized further actions, if any, that are required. At many sites, ECSI documents contaminants found in soil, surface water, sediments, and groundwater, with associated concentrations and sampling dates. ECSI categorizes current site status as either: 1) under investigation; 2) on the Confirmed Release List or Inventory of Facilities Needing Further Action (Inventory); or 3) cleaned up to DEQ standards (No Further Action, or NFA). ECSI also lists past and present site operations, owners/operators, and site contacts. The amount of data entered for each site varies greatly and depends on the nature of site issues, how long the site has been active in DEQ’s Cleanup Program, and the priority DEQ has assigned to the site.
A state law passed in 1987 required DEQ to "develop and implement a comprehensive statewide program to identify any release or threat of release [of hazardous substances] from a facility that may require remedial action." A year later, DEQ created the Environmental Cleanup Site Information (ECSI) database, to identify and track sites with known or suspected hazardous substance contamination. At that time, DEQ's Cleanup program developed broad but informal criteria for adding sites to ECSI. In 2000, the program formalized guidelines for ECSI entry (described below under “How does DEQ decide to add a site to ECSI?”).
Sites in ECSI comprise a wide variety of sizes, locations, features, contaminant profiles, and degrees of Cleanup Program information. What all sites have in common is documented, suspected, or remediated hazardous substance contamination in groundwater, surface water, soil, or sediments. Some ECSI sites have minimal information available and need an initial evaluation, while others have completed investigative and remedial actions, and have earned a NFA decision from DEQ. Sites range from urban industrial complexes to isolated rural facilities contaminated by disposals or spills. Most sites are either industrial or commercial, but the Cleanup Program sometimes adds highly contaminated residential properties to ECSI.
ECSI also includes study areas, which are groups of individual sites that may be contributing to a larger, area-wide problem. For example, when DEQ discovers regional groundwater contamination where the sources of contamination are not known, it will create a study area for this region. Then, DEQ will add sites within the region’s boundaries to this study area, and these sites may be investigated to determine if they’re potential sources of contamination. DEQ has also created study areas of sites that could threaten Vulnerable Areas such as drinking water sources or streams with endangered fish species.
Generally, the answer is no. DEQ’s UST Section maintains a separate database of sites with reported petroleum releases from UST systems.
However, the Environmental Cleanup Section sometimes takes the lead at sites with leaking USTs, and adds them to ECSI. Examples are sites with releases from USTs containing solvents or other non-petroleum substances; sites contaminated by both petroleum USTs and non-petroleum sources; and high-priority sites at which DEQ’s UST Section has requested Cleanup Program resources. The Cleanup Program also added some leaking UST sites to ECSI in 1988-89 before DEQ created a separate UST Section (many of these sites have since been referred to the UST Section). ECSI includes petroleum bulk plants and other sites where above-ground releases of gasoline, diesel, or oil have occurred or are suspected.
DEQ's Cleanup program adds sites meeting any of the criteria below to the ECSI database:
- Sites with documented contamination that are eligible for the Confirmed Release List (Oregon Revised Statute 465.405).
- Sites that are the subject of a cleanup report submitted to DEQ.
- Sites at which the weight of evidence suggests the presence of contamination beyond de minimis proportions.
- Sites that DEQ Site Assessment staff intend to evaluate and are likely to refer to the Voluntary Cleanup, Site Response, or Orphan programs for follow-up.
- Sites at which DEQ oversight or review is requested through the Voluntary Cleanup Program or Independent Cleanup Pathway.
- Landfill sites permitted under DEQ's Solid Waste program, if contaminants that could threaten human health or the environment migrate beyond landfill boundaries, or site issues otherwise exceed the Solid Waste program's regulatory authority.
- Sites that DEQ's Spill program refers to Site Assessment for further action.
- Potentially contaminated sites requiring detailed or time-consuming preliminary file reviews to determine whether further Cleanup program evaluation is needed.
Once DEQ adds a site to ECSI, the site remains on the database to provide tracking and historical information. The fact that a site is included in ECSI has no regulatory significance per se, because neither Oregon Revised Statutes nor Oregon Administrative Rules refer to ECSI. Two Cleanup Program lists, the CRL and Inventory, do carry regulatory significance and should not be confused with ECSI. Criteria for listing sites on the CRL or Inventory are different from the criteria for adding sites to ECSI. In addition, the CRL/Inventory listing process includes a formal notification and comment period before sites are actually listed. Furthermore, sites can be delisted from the CRL and Inventory following cleanups, but are not removed from ECSI. (When remediated sites no longer pose risks to human health or the environment, ECSI shows their No Further Action status; retaining such sites in ECSI benefits those seeking historical or "case-study" information on sites that have been through the cleanup process.)
All data in ECSI is public information. There are several ways to access this data, at different levels of detail.
The easiest and quickest way to obtain data from ECSI is to use the ECSI query. This query, which returns up-to-the-minute data in the database, allows you to conduct a search for ECSI sites, as well as for sites on the CRL and Inventory, by criteria you specify, including: ECSI #; site name; street name or number; zip code; city; county; latitude/longitude ranges; completed site actions; or recorded contaminants. Queries return a one-line listing of sites meeting the search criteria entered and provide links to detailed reports for each site. You can also download comma-delimited record sets of data generated from your queries.
The complete ECSI data set can also be downloaded electronically from the ECSI download page. However, data resulting from this download may not be current (the page indicates the date of the data).
The ECSI database contains only summaries of site information. Therefore, if you need more details on site history or activities, you should contact the appropriate regional office and schedule a file review.