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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
March 11, 2014
Why We Did This Review
The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA)
leases a warehouse in Blue
Ash, Ohio, from the General
Services Administration. The
warehouse is partially occupied
by the National Service Center
for Environmental Publications
maintains and distributes the
EPA's environmental
publications in hard copy,
CD ROM and other multimedia
formats. Inventory ranges from
workbooks for schools to
technical manuals.
We are conducting an audit to
determine the extent to which
the EPA's personal property
stored in select warehouse
space is being used effectively,
accounted for, and disposed of
by the agency. As a result of
our warehouse visits, we are
issuing this early warning report
on the NSCEP because our
concerns required immediate
This report addresses the
following EPA theme:
 Embracing EPA as a high
performing organization.
For further information,
contact our public affairs office
at (202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
Early Warning Report: National Service Center
for Environmental Publications in Blue Ash, Ohio,
Spent $1.5 Million to Store Excess Publications
What We Found
Our initial research of operations at the NSCEP
warehouse in Blue Ash raised significant concerns
about the number of publications stored at the
facility versus the number of publications shipped
from the facility each year. In particular:
The EPA could put over
$1.5 million to better use
by reducing its inventory
of excess publications at
the NSCEP.
	The NSCEP filled the warehouse with a considerable amount of printed
	The NSCEP needs to improve implementation of plans to reduce inventory.
The agency is storing more than 6 years of publications at the warehouse.
As of December 6, 2013, the warehouse had an inventory of 18,406,848
publications but averaged only 2,949,643 publications shipped on a yearly basis.
Consequently, the EPA is tying up funds by storing and caring for excess stock at
an annual cost of up to $1.2 million. Additional costs include warehouse activities
and other direct costs, plus up to $359,000 in leasing costs.
We had observed another EPA warehouse operating as a long-term storage
facility filled with considerable amounts of unusable furniture and other items.
This was noted in a prior EPA Office of Inspector General (OIG) report, Early
Warning Report: Main EPA Headquarters Warehouse in Landover, Maryland,
Requires Immediate EPA Attention (Report No. 13-P-0272), issued May 31,
2013. The Landover report questioned the effectiveness of EPA oversight.
We believe that the agency should evaluate its publication-storage requirements
to determine appropriate adjustments based on average shipments to customers,
as well as appropriate adjustments based on providing shipments in a timely
manner, to ensure effective storage utilization.
Agency Actions Taken
Following EPA OIG visits to the Blue Ash warehouse and several follow-up
discussions with staff, the NSCEP reported that it recycled almost 2 million items,
consisting of more than 140 tons of material, between June and October 2013.