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The Assessment, Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Tracking and Implementation System (ATTAINS) is an online system for accessing information about the conditions in the Nation’s surface waters.

Overview of ATTAINS

The Clean Water Act requires states, territories and authorized tribes (states for brevity) to monitor water pollution and report to EPA every two years on the waters they have evaluated. This process is called assessment. Part of this process is deciding which waters do not meet water quality standards because they are too polluted. These degraded waters are called impaired (polluted enough to require action) and are placed on a State list for future actions to reduce pollution.

This information reported to EPA by states is available in ATTAINS. The information is made available via the ATTAINS web reports, as well as through other EPA tools. The ATTAINS web reports provide users with easy access to view the information on the status of waters at the national, state and site-specific waterbody levels. To access this information, click the Get Data/Tool tab above.

State, Tribal, and EPA partners will find information about how to access ATTAINS to submit data by clicking on the Upload Data tab above.

For more information about ATTAINS and associated regulations and programs, click the Learn More tab above.

Access ATTAINS Data

ATTAINS is undergoing a redesign of the database and data entry user interface.  Changes in the database structure resulted in new tools, or web services, to access the data.  New Integrated Report submissions are being reviewed and approved through the new ATTAINS system.  In addition, migration of historical data to the new system is almost complete. 

  • How's My Waterway provides access to ATTAINS data in a public-friendly way.

  • For more detailed data, ATTAINS web services may be used to access the water quality assessment decisions in the new ATTAINS system, including new Integrated Report submissions and any historical data that have been migrated to the new ATTAINS.

  • The older data tools listed in the ATTAINS Data Archive access historical data but do not access the newer Integrated Report submissions.  These older tools are deprecated and will likely be removed later this year. 

How's My Waterway

  • How's My Waterway is a website that provides people with information about the condition of their local waters based on data that states, federal, tribal, local agencies and others have provided to EPA.  How's My Waterway uses various ATTAINS web services to display data in a public-friendly way.

ATTAINS Web Services

  • ATTAINS web services are formatted using JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and use Representational State Transfer (REST) protocols.
    • How to Access and Use ATTAINS Web Services - This document explains how to use ATTAINS Web Services to access public ATTAINS data, including how to generate the URL to query an ATTAINS REST service.  It provides the base URL for each service, and the query parameters available for that service.
    • ATTAINS Web Services can be used in conjunction with software that reads JSON and converts it into a tabular format. For simplicity, EPA has created a file that allows a user to query for assessment decisions by changing a few query input parameters in Excel.
      • Assessment Unit Batch Upload Template (83 K, 3/11/2020)  - This is an example Excel file that queries ATTAINS Web Services for specific attributes.The query input parameters can be adjusted to retrieve a different state or a different attribute.Instructions for using this file are provided below.

      • Instructions for Using the Services_ Retrieve - This document explains how to adjust the state and query attributes in the Services_Retrieve.xlsx file o query for different information.

Access the ATTAINS Data Archive

All the tools and web reports below access water quality decision data that are in the old ATTAINS system.  The following tools are still available but the data behind these tools have not been updated since 2017.  These tools are deprecated and will be removed during 2020.

Click here to access ATTAINS web reports - The ATTAINS data are presented online in two main report formats (integrated and separate), which reflect how States provide their data to EPA.

Other Tools that Incorporate ATTAINS Data

The following EPA resources also provide access to ATTAINS data:

  • Ask WATERS: Ask WATERS answers multi-program questions that draw on information from the databases linked through WATERS.
    • The Simple Query answers frequently asked questions about WATERS data. Its easy-to-use interface returns summary, detailed and graphical results in an easy-to-read format.
    • The Expert Query is a powerful tool consisting of fully interactive database views for users requiring more specific data analyses.
  • ATTAINS National Geospatial Downloads: Precut geospatial extracts containing selected ATTAINS database attributes; offered in various GIS formats.
  • Environmental Dataset Gateway (EDG) Clip N Ship: An online tool that presents EPA data in a map viewer and allows users to view the data, select an area of interest, and choose an output format to save the content locally.
  • My WATERS Mapper: MyWATERS Mapper dynamically displays snapshots of EPA Office of Water program data.
  • Reach Address Database (RAD): The RAD stores reach address information for each Water Program feature that has been linked to the underlying surface water features in the National Hydrology Database Plus (NHDPlus) dataset. For the ATTAINS program, if States provide geospatial data that are associated with their Integrated Reporting data, EPA processes the State geospatial data for submission to the RAD.

Upload Data

The ATTAINS system allows registered state or tribal users to create Assessment Units and upload assessment decisions about those Assessment Units for their organization. In addition, the ATTAINS system allows registered EPA users to provide comments about assessment decisions, and to review Clean Water Act Section 303(d) lists of impaired waters. Users may work directly with the web user interface, batch upload files within the user interface, or submit data via the Exchange Network data flow.

ATTAINS Exchange Network Tools

  • Resources regarding submitting data through the Exchange Network - ATTAINS data flowExitare available on the Exchange Network page.
    • The Flow Configuration Document provides information on service end points
    • The Data Exchange Template provides information on the required versus optional fields in ATTAINS

ATTAINS User Interface Tools

  • Batch Upload Templates
    •  Assessment Unit Batch Upload Template (83 K, 3/11/2020) - This Excel template can be used to upload new Assessment Units or update information about existing Assessment Units through batch upload capability in the ATTAINS User Interface. The file allows users to provide information such as Assessment Unit ID and Assessment Unit Name as well as Water Types, Locations and Monitoring Stations associated with the Assessment Unit.  After entering the information, save each tab of the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Assessment Units tab and select "Upload Assessment Units" from the Menu button.
      • Bulk Rename Template(12 K, 09/20/2019)  - This template can be used to rename Assessment Unit IDs from an existing ID to a new ID.  This file is not for Splits or Merges because those can only be done in the User Interface.  After entering the information, save the file as a .CSV.  To Upload this file, go to the Assessment Units tab and select "Manage Assessment Units" from the Menu button.
      • Bulk Retire Template(12 K, 09/20/2019)  - This template can be used to retire Assessment Unit IDs.  Retired Assessment Units can be seen in ATTAINS, along with historical assessment decisions, but no new assessments may be associated with them.  After entering the information, save the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Assessment Units tab and select "Manage Assessment Units" from the Menu button.  Note:  Retiring an Assessment Unit is permanent.
      • If you need to delete a series of Assessment Units such that they do not appear in ATTAINS at all, please contact your Data Management Coordinator for assistance.

    • Assessment Batch Upload Template(95 K, 3/11/2020)   - This Excel template can be used to upload Assessment decisions about Assessment Units. The file allows users to provide information on the last time the Assessment Unit was monitored and assessed. It also includes the Uses that apply to the Assessment Unit and the decisions about those Uses. It also includes the Parameters that were assessed and the decisions about the parameter (whether it was meeting criteria, a cause of impairment or an observed effect), and any Sources of impairment.    The file also includes a Seasons tab if the Organization applies different Assessment decisions for different seasons during the year.  After entering the information, save each tab of the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Assessments tab and select "Upload Assessments" from the Menu button.
    •  Associated Actions Upload Template(13 K, 3/11/2020) - This template can be used to associate existing Action IDs in ATTAINS to the Assessment decisions to help ATTAINS calculate waters into the appropriate EPA IR Category.  For example, if the state or region had entered an Action into ATTAINS between reporting cycles and the state would like to Associate that Action with the Assessment for the next Integrated Reporting cycle, this file can be used.  After entering the information, save the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Assessments tab and select "Upload Assessments" from the Menu button.  If the Action ID has not been entered into ATTAINS yet, this Associated Actions Upload Template will not work.
    • TMDL Action Batch Upload Template(118 K, 3/26/2020)  - This excel template can be used to upload TDML Actions.  Only Draft Actions may be uploaded.  Any data entered for an Action ID will replace existing information about that Action ID.  After entering the information, save the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Actions tab and select "Upload Actions" from the Menu button.
    • Non-TMDL Action Batch Upload Template(93 K, 3/11/2020) This Excel template can be used to upload Actions for 4B Restoration Approach, Alternative Restoration Approach, and Protection Approach Actions, as well as the Actions that do not require EPA approval.  (The TMDL Batch Upload is separate because it contains different required fields.)  After entering the information, save the file as a .CSV.  To upload this file, go to the Actions tab, and select “Upload Actions” from the Menu button.
  • Domain Values – Allowed values for restricted value fields in ATTAINS 
    •  DOMAINS(3 MB, 7/7/2020)  – This file is connected to ATTAINS Services. It can be updated to the latest domain values by downloading the file, going to the Data tab in the Excel Ribbon and clicking on “Refresh All”. Note: In order to refresh the spreadsheet to the latest values,  you must have Office 2016 or later.
  • Transitioning from ADB to ATTAINS
    • pg, 8 MB, 02/08/2018) – Tennessee developed some queries for the Assessment Database (ADB) that create Batch Upload queries to help populate ATTAINS.

Tutorials and Training

The following resources provide additional information related to ATTAINS: