What is ECSI?
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.
What kind of information is in ECSI?
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
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.
What kinds of sites are in 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
Does ECSI include leaking underground storage
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.
How does DEQ decide to add a site to ECSI?
A site is added to ECSI when DEQ learns that it is contaminated or
potentially contaminated with hazardous substances such as solvents,
metals, PCBs, or petroleum hydrocarbons. Such site information comes
from a number of sources: investigative efforts by DEQ’s Site
Assessment Program; referrals from other DEQ programs or from other
agencies; reports of chemical spills; citizen reports/complaints; or
data submitted voluntarily by site owners/operators. Because ECSI
includes potentially contaminated sites as well as sites known to be
contaminated, appearance on the ECSI database does not necessarily
mean that a site is contaminated.
For more details, refer to DEQ's guidance
for adding sites to ECSI.
What’s the difference between ECSI and
the Confirmed Release List and Inventory?
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.)
How does ECSI differ from the US EPA’s
database of contaminated sites?
For tracking contaminated sites, DEQ’s ECSI database can be
considered roughly equivalent to
database. However, there are important differences between the
- In contrast to ECSI, CERCLIS is a formal, statutory list that
sets in motion certain required activities and timelines.
- EPA generally adds sites with confirmed contamination to
CERCLIS, while DEQ adds to ECSI sites with suspected contamination
as well as those with confirmed contamination.
- Unlike ECSI, CERCLIS specifically excludes sites with
- All CERCLIS (or former CERCLIS) sites in Oregon are added to
ECSI, but most ECSI sites are not added to CERCLIS.
- EPA’s cleanup process uses an "all or nothing" approach –
following EPA evaluation, sites in CERCLIS are either proposed for
the Superfund list or designated as No Further Remedial Action
Planned ("NFRAP"), and transferred to the
CERCLIS archives. On the other hand, Oregon recognizes a
continuum of site cleanup needs and priorities, and will often
determine that federal NFRAP sites require further state action.
How can I obtain information from
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
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