Practical Implementation Advice
- Partners that are currently using the Exchange Network to flow SDWIS data should keep doing what they are doing.
- Partners that are using SDWIS/STATE and FedRep, but are flowing data through the non-EN CDX web application, should use the EN Services Center for drinking water data submittals.
- Partners that are interested in automating drinking water reporting, should reconfigure FedRep to flow data through their nodes.
- Partners (e.g., some health departments) that do not have a node, should not implement a node just to flow SDWIS data. They should use the EN Services Center or partner with agencies that have nodes.
SDWIS Data Flow Options
The figure presents the current options for flowing SDWIS data. Exchange Network (EN) flow options are shown in green and non-EN options are shown in red.
Summary of Current Practice
Most Partners use SDWIS/STATE as their local information management system. SDWIS/STATE contains FedRep, which validates the data submission and converts data to XML format. Currently, Partners that use SDWIS/STATE and FedRep have two options for submitting data. The user can use the Exchange Network by configuring FedRep to make its output file available to its node, client, or the EN Services Center. Alternatively, the user can submit data by manually uploading the file using the legacy non-EN CDX web application. These two options are also available to States that use their own drinking water information management systems.
SDWIS Flow Status and Milestones
EPA developed the EN Services Center to allow users to automatically submit data to CDX using FedRep (for SDWIS/STATE users) or directly from local systems. This will allow a transition away from the non-EN CDX web application that EPA anticipates turning off in Q2 2012.
A new version of FedRep will be released Q2 2012 that addresses a 1-MB file limitation in the current version (FedRep users currently break large files into smaller parts to avoid this file size limit).
Governance is working with EPA OW to transition States away from the legacy non-EN CDX web application to the EN Services Center. In the long-run, they will collaborate on plans to modernize SDWIS and ensure that that the new system accepts data only through the Network.
|Automation Ready||On Track||Develop and deliver new version of SDWIS FedRep that allows file sizes greater than1 MB||Office of Water (OW) with EN staff support||Q2 2012|
|Solutions for all Partners||
Design, develop, and deploy EN Services Center
Provision Services Center for SDWIS reporting services
Provide training and outreach to transition users away from legacy non-EN CDX web application to CDX EN Services Center
OW with EN staff support
OW with EN staff support
|Access to transaction status||On Track||Develop transaction messaging||EN staff||Q4 2011|
|Accessible and stable flow documentation||On Track||Update documentation to reflect current specifications of data flow||OW||Q2 2012|
|Specifications for Data Access Services||On Track||Develop, document, and demonstrate standard specifications for data access services for drinking water occurrence data that meets the needs of the public health community||Network Operations Board with OW input||Q4 2012|
|Clear path to eliminate alternatives||On Track||Eliminate non-EN CDX web application||EN staff with OW input||Q2 2012|
Node: A Partner’s point of presence on the EN consisting of a server (hardware and software) enabled with web services that allow Partners to automatically provide and receive information via the Network and to publish data for use by other Partners.
Node Client: A stand-alone application (i.e., software code) that lets Partners share data, request data, and receive results from an EN request. Clients differ from nodes in that they cannot respond to queries from other nodes and so cannot publish data. Clients also need more manual (rather than automated) steps, for example, to extract data and generate and review reports before submission.
EN Services Center: A website that allows Partners to easily send, get, and download information from other Partners. The Services Center will serve as a replacement for manual submissions of information through CDX Web. It is an appropriate solution for those Partners who do not require or are not yet ready for the automation and data publishing capabilities of an EN Node. The EN Services Center is available at https://enservices.epa.gov.
CDX: EPA’s Central Data Exchange. It serves as EPA’s centralized electronic report receiving system. It receives data from Partners and directs the data to EPA’s program-specific National Systems (e.g., AQS, WQX, etc.).
CDX Node: CDX Node is EPA’s node on the Network, allowing EPA to receive, send, and provide information via the Network. CDX Node can also publish EPA data for use by other Partners.
CDX Web (non-EN) Application: A legacy CDX application that receives data (flat file or XML format) via standard web browsers. CDX Web applications are not consistent with EN protocols (e.g., they have a separate authentication and authorization service from the EN) and typically involve more manual steps than a node-to-node exchange of data.
Data Access Services: Using web services to make data available to Partners by querying nodes and returning environmental data in the form of XML documents. Published data can be accessed using a node or clients. Published data can be used in a number of ways, such as populating Web pages, synchronizing data between sites, viewing data in a Web service client, or building new sources of data into an integrated application.
Direct User: A Partner entering data directly into a National Data System through a system-specific interface (manual entry).
EPA National Data System: Program-specific data systems at EPA that can receive and publish data..
Local Data System: A Partner’s database or series of databases in which environmental data are stored, managed, and manipulated.
XML: eXtensible Markup Language is a flexible language for creating common information formats and sharing both the format and content of data over the Internet and elsewhere. The electronic language that expresses and transports data standards and transaction sets. XML uses an extensible set of tags to describe the meaning of data.
National System Flow “Ready-to-Use” Criteria
A focus of Governance has been developing the National System Flows to help Partners take advantage of the Network’s business value. Governance has identified six criteria for each flow to meet to make these flows “ready to use,” they are:
- Automation-ready flows. Support fully automated node-to-node flows.
- Solutions for all Partners. Provide appropriately scaled solutions for Partners of all sizes, needs, and capabilities. Some Partners such as Tribes and local clean air authorities may not need a fully functional node, therefore, other solutions should be available.
- Access to transaction status. Support a fully automated process for reporting transaction status, processing results, and QA results from receipt by CDX through final processing in the National System.
- Accessible and stable flow documentation. Develop and make accessible stable documentation that describes all flow requirements. This includes a complete Flow Configuration Document (FCD) that is in compliance with EN procedures for version management.
- Specifications for Data Access Services. Provide a national standard set of query/solicit services defined in the FCD whether or not data are currently published. Implement a publishing interface where published data are critical to partner business processes (such as NPDES permit information for NetDMR).
- Clear path to eliminate alternatives. Have a clear path to eliminate legacy system alternatives to data exchanges, including transition support for Partners.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
fabian.gregory [at] epa.gov