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Water Quality Framework

The Water Quality Framework aims to streamline water quality assessment and reporting by integrating existing IT systems.

The Water Quality Framework is a new way of thinking about how EPA’s water quality data and information systems can be better integrated to more effectively support water quality decision makers and better inform the public. The Framework will streamline water quality assessment and reporting, eliminate paper reporting and provide a more complete picture of the nation’s water quality. The Framework will start by focusing on better integrating three systems:

  1. EPA’s water quality monitoring repository: STORET and the Water Quality Exchange (WQX).
  2. EPA’s Assessment TMDL Tracking and ImplementatioN System (ATTAINS).
  3. EPA’s geospatial stream network: the National Hydrography Dataset Plus, NHDPlus.

As part of the Water Quality Framework, EPA is transitioning to georeferencing water quality data to NHDPlus catchments, starting with the state-submitted water quality assessment decision data (Clean Water Act Sections 303(d) and 305(b)) in ATTAINS. This transition to georeferencing to NHDPlus catchments was selected as part of an Integrated Reporting Georeferencing Pilot (GeoPilot), and is critical to successfully integrating the different data systems under the Water Quality Framework. For more information, please see the Integrated Reporting Georeferencing Pilot Report.

For more information about the Framework, please see our Factsheet or our Frequently Asked Questions.

Currently, we are working to integrate the STORET, ATTAINS and the NHDPlus IT systems, but in the interim, you may reference each dataset separately at the websites below:

ATTAINS Redesign Materials

We are currently undergoing a redesign of the Assessment and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Tracking and Implementation System (ATTAINS) to better fit the needs of our Assessment and 303(d) listing partners and align with the Water Quality Framework. For guidance on the new data schema (format), please see the most updated version below, along with data diagrams showing the model.

Continuous Monitoring Data Sharing Strategy

Under the Open Water Initiative, EPA and its many data partners are collaborating to evaluate the long-term solution for storing and sharing continuous water quality data. Moreover, EPA funded this project to define a practical strategy for integrating continuous monitoring data into a sensor sharing network. This project includes research and review of available standards, technologies and activities relevant to:

  • management of continuous monitoring data;
  • interviews with organizations already working with such data; and
  • ongoing interactions with a stakeholder group representing potential contributors and users of this data.

See: Continuous Monitoring Data Sharing Strategy