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.
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.
ATTAINS Web Services
- 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.
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.
- How’s My Waterway: A mobile web app and website that helps people find information on the condition of their local waterways using a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. It makes science-based water quality information accessible and understandable for everyone.
- 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.
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.
- Registered users may access the ATTAINS User Interface here.
- The How to Register for ATTAINS Fact Sheet explains the steps needed to obtain a User ID and get setup in the system.
- The How to Sign in to ATTAINS Fact Sheet explains how different users access the system.
- Contacts - If you need assistance with ATTAINS, start with your regional Data Management Coordinator (DMC). They can set up an ATTAINS account for you, and can answer many of your system-related questions.
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,
- 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.
- 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.
- Domain Values – Allowed values for restricted value fields in ATTAINS
- DOMAINS(3 MB, 3/12/2020) – 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
- TN_ATTAINS_BATCH_from_ADB.zip(1 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
- ATTAINSinfo Listserv – State, Tribal, and EPA partners can register for the ATTAINSinfo listserv to receive updates about the system. This document explains how to register for the listserv.
- EPA Integrated Reporting (IR) Categories and How ATTAINS Calculates Them - This explains the data elements in ATTAINS that are used to calculate the EPA Integrated Reporting Category for Assessments.
- How to See Your User Permissions - This explains how to view your role permissions for an organization.
- Roles and Permissions in ATTAINS - This explains the basic functionality available for the various Role Levels in ATTAINS.
- Assessments Units module
- Assessments module
- How to Upload Cycle Documents and Promote a Cycle in ATTAINS - This explains how to attach documents to the Assessment Cycle before the Cycle is promoted to EPA review.
- How to Apply an Action to Assessments - This explains how to apply an Action to an Assessment. The example uses a TMDL Action, and applies it so that the Assessment Unit and Parameter combination calculates as EPA IR Category 4a. The steps for applying other types of Actions are the same, but the EPA IR Category result may be different.
- How to Calculate a Parameter as EPA IR Category 4B in ATTAINS - This explains how to create a 4B Restoration Approach Action (in the Actions tab) and associate it with an Assessment and Parameter (in the Assessments tab) to calculate them as EPA IR Category 4B.
- How to Rename a Parameter - This applies to cause parameter names that had been used in an earlier cycle that have since been retired.
- How to Share a Cycle with EPA - This explains how an Organization's Assessment Administrator can choose to share a Draft or Working Copy (In Progress) Assessment cycle with EPA.
- How to Create a Combined Cycle in ATTAINS - This explains how to create a new Assessment cycle in ATTAINS that applies to more than one cycle.
- Reports module
- Features Available in ATTAINS Summary Reports- This explains some of the new features available in the ATTAINS Summary Reports (Assessments, Uses, Parameters, Sources and Delistings) as of the February 2020 release.
- Features Available in the ATTAINS Cycle Comparison Reports- This explains some of the new features available in the ATTAINS Cycle Comparison Reports (at either the Assessment level or the Parameter level) as of the February 2020 release.
- Actions module
- How to Enter a TMDL Action - This explains how to create and enter a new TMDL Action in the ATTAINS User Interface.
- Tips for Using the TMDL Actions Batch Upload Template - This provides tips to know when using the TMDL Actions Batch Upload Template.
- How to Enter a Protection Action - This explains how to create and enter an Action that is part of a Protection Approach in the ATTAINS User Interface.
- How to Unlock and Modify Actions - This explains how to unlock and modify previously finalized Actions in ATTAINS.
- Surveys module
- How to Enter State Survey Results - This explains how to enter state statistical (probability) survey results in the ATTAINS User Interface.
- Administration module
- How to Enter State Metrics for How's My Waterway - This explains how to enter information for the metrics, URLs and the descriptive paragraph that appear on the top of the State tab of How’s My Waterway 2.0. Changes made in the Metrics area of ATTAINS will appear in the second release of How’s My Waterway 2.0.
- Training: If you are interested in training, contact your Data Management Coordinator to ask about upcoming training sessions.
The following resources provide additional information related to ATTAINS:
- Information about the contents and structure of the ATTAINS web report formats is available at the following pages:
- Assessing and Reporting Water Quality (Questions and Answers): This fact sheet answers basic questions about how states assess and report on water quality conditions.
- National Water Quality Inventory Report to Congress: This page provides access to historical Reports to Congress on general water quality conditions in the United States.