U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of Inspector General
At a Glance
September 13, 2011
Why We Did This Review
We initiated this audit based
on a Hotline complaint related
to the Emergency Management
Portal (EMP) equipment
tracking module. Our
objectives were to determine
the extent to which the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) implemented
the EMP equipment tracking
software, what efforts EPA has
made to assess functionality
and cost effectiveness, and
how the EMP equipment
module compared to the
previous interim system.
Since September 11, 2001,
EPA's emergency response
focus has expanded to better
coincide with its new role in
homeland security. In May
2002, EPA determined that it
needed to create a national
equipment tracking system to
be better prepared for terrorist
acts and nationally significant
For further information,
contact our Office of
Congressional, Public Affairs
and Management at
(202) 566-2391.
The full report is at:
Catalyst for Improving the Environment
EPA Has Not Fully Implemented a National
Emergency Response Equipment Tracking System
What We Found
Although EPA spent $2.8 million as of October 2010 to develop and implement an
EMP emergency equipment tracking module, EPA has not fully implemented the
module, and the module suffers from operational issues. Our review of allegations
in a Hotline complaint found that:
	EPA does not fully use the EMP equipment tracking module because no
EPA office with overall authority has mandated its use.
	EPA has made no formal effort to assess functionality and cost
effectiveness due to its decision to perform such assessments only after
fully implementing the EMP equipment module.
	The EMP equipment module is cumbersome and slow, and may not be the
most efficient and effective emergency equipment tracking alternative.
EPA has guidance and policies that require the Agency to develop and implement a
plan for a national equipment tracking system. Both the Office of Management and
Budget and EPA require performance measurement of such systems. However,
EPA has not fulfilled this requirement. In addition to the $2.8 million it has already
spent, EPA plans to spend another $5.5 million over the next 15 years on the EMP
equipment module's maintenance. Further, the regions that are using the module
continue to maintain their own tracking systems, resulting in wasted resources.
Because EPA has not fully implemented the EMP equipment module and the
module is cumbersome and slow, EPA's ability to protect public health and the
environment in the event of a nationally significant incident may be impaired.
What We Recommend
We recommend that the Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency
Response ensure that only essential equipment tracking data are required to be
recorded and determine whether the EMP equipment module is the most cost-
efficient alternative. We also recommend that the EPA Deputy Administrator
mandate that regions and emergency response teams employ the national tracking
system that EPA decides to use for emergency response equipment. The Agency
concurred with the findings and recommendations, but did not provide a corrective
action date for the first recommendation. The Assistant Administrator for Solid
Waste and Emergency Response will hire an outside contractor to conduct an
alternative analysis to determine the most efficient and effective national
emergency response equipment tracking alternative. The Deputy Administrator also
plans to issue a memo requiring the use of the EMP equipment module for tracking