Graph: Inspections, Civil Cases and Criminal Cases

This graph shows the number of inspections undertaken by the EPA and the number of legal cases started (initiated) and concluded. The EPA inspects facilities to identify violations of the law (noncompliance). The EPA may also discover violations through self-reporting or citizen reporting. If noncompliance is discovered, the EPA may initiate a formal legal case against the violator. Most cases are civil administrative cases. Less common, but usually more serious cases, result in the initiation of civil judicial cases or criminal cases. When cases are resolved, which may take months or years, the result is a case conclusion.

Use the cursor to hover over the graph and see presidential administrations and specific numbers. The data are for fiscal years, which begin October 1 and end September 30. The calendar year it ends in is the year used to name the fiscal year. For example, fiscal year 2015 started on October 1, 2014 and ended on September 30, 2015. For more information terms, see the APE Glossary and Primer: How Enforcement Works at the EPA.


EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, "National Enforcement Trends (NETs) Report" (August 2011); EPA Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Annual Reports (various years).

Data download and links to sources.

Data dictionary.


Steven Geofrey and Leif Fredrickson, "Graph: Inspections, Civil Cases and Criminal Cases," A People's EPA.