Empowering Water Quality Programs with Data Flows and Web- Based Decision Support Tools

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OFFICE OF THE INDIAN
A STATE CHEMIST

Empowering Water Quality Programs with Data Flows and Web
-
Based Decision Support Tools



Robert Waltz

10/29/2010





This project will connect the flow and load duration tool, which is an existing tool used
in constructing TMDLs, to the WQX. This enhancement to an existing tool will allow
users to simultaneously consume USGS flow data, WQX water quality data, EPA Waters
web services (GIS data) and will create a GeoRSS feed of previously unavailable water
quality data from the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.
That data will flow to CDX.
The project meets strategic goals for EPA, and in particular for the Exchange Netwo
rk as
noted below.

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Table

of

contents

Introduction

Narrative

Goals

Table of
goals, outputs, target dates, outcomes

Table of
environmental results.

Still need this

References

Project roles and responsibilities.

summarized

qualifications of the project manager







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Grant narrative begins

The project narrative must address each of the Evaluation Criteria (Section V
-
A)
of this Solicitation Notice.

Highly scoring applications will include within the ten
-
page project narrativ
e a description of:


project outputs, outcomes, and environmental results, including a plan (with intermediate
milestones) that allows the applicant to track and report progress toward achieving the project‘s
expected goals;


project roles and responsibi
lities for the applicant and any partners included in the project;


how collaboration between IT/IM staff and environmental/health programs to integrate project
outputs into the programs‘ business operations;


applicant‘s commitment to re
-
use existing EN

tools or share new tools with EN partners;


amounts budgeted for each goal; and


summarized qualifications of the project manager and other key personnel and the applicant‘s
resources which would contribute to project success




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I
ntroduction.

This proposal
includes two aspects,
one
will upgrade a web
-
based tool
for
calculating load duration curves
(often used in TMDLs)
into one
that
will have
much more utility and greatly improved decision
-
making capability because it
connects to the exchange n
etwork web services
,
and the second aspect will
facilitate uploading
six

pesticide registration data (FIFRA) sets into the EPA
exchange network (CDX) which are not now
available

there
.

This project will
directly support the mission of the exchange network
because it will improve
environmental data access and improve environmental analysis for a large
number of users who do not currently have that access; the improvements will
streamline a regulatory process and lower burden
and costs currently part of
the T
MDL process
.

The project clearly addresses goals from the EPA FY 2011 to 2015
Strategic Plan. EPA Goals two, three, four, and goal number five are all
addressed through a project that uses exchange network data to improve and
streamline

TMDL

process as we
ll as
to improve and streamline a
process used
in designing and monitoring of BMPs for water quality.

Th
is

proposal
fits into the exchange network strategic plan as well as the
EPA strategic plan
,

by meeting specific exchange network strategic goals
,
specifically under objective 2, expanding the exchange network use to support
more environmental decision
-
making. Under the performance metrics for thi
s
objective
,
this project would be counted under 4.2.2.1 and 4.2.4 This project
also presents a supplemen
tal flow opportunity, which is a performance metric
for subobjective 2.2 of the strategic plan.

Each of the two
project
aspects have specific goals, outputs, outcomes
and environmental results as listed below.


The load duration curve tool has been used in

the creation of TMDLs in Indiana,
and this use has provided feedback from the user community and the
revelatory agency involved with TMDLs in Indiana (Indiana Department of
E
nvironmental
M
anagement). This phase of the project will incorporate
upgrades to
the tool that result from the user community feedback, and also
will incorporate a connection to the STORET Results Web Service to provide
appropriate water quality information to the tool during use. This will greatly
improve and greatly speed up the TMDL

process. (Reference attached.)

The second phase of this project will

implement data flows into the
WTX

for six
pesticide registration (FIFRA) data sets which are currently held by the Office of
the Indiana State Chemist and are not available in the EN.

Narrative

This narrative will discuss

more details about the two aspects of this
proposal and will then explicitly outline project goals, outputs, target dates,
and outcomes. The first aspect is the upgrade of the
load duration curve

(LDC)

tool.

Load dura
tion curves are used in water quality work to evaluate and design best
management practices (BMPs) and oftentimes also are used in the process to
develop a TMDL.

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EPA publication EPA 841
-
B
-
07
-
006 states

“…
major advantage of the
duration curve framework i
n TMDL development is the ability to provide meaningful
connections between allocations and implementation efforts. Because the flow duration
interval serves as a general indicator of hydrologic condition (i.e., wet versus dry and to what
degree), allocati
ons and reduction targets can be linked to source areas, delivery mechanisms,
and the appropriate set of management practices.
(
A
n Approach for Using Load Duration
c
urves
in the D
evelopment of TMDLs
, PG.17)


The use of zones within the duration curve such

as high flow, low flow etc.
allows for the development of allocation tables which can be used to target
implementation actions to get the most response for the least cost.

The typical duration curve constructed either by hand or with an online model
requi
res location of flow data typically from the US geological survey, and
accompanying water quality data for the same timeframe. The curve is
constructed showing flow changing over time and superimposing measured
water quality points to see where in the flow

regime they were measured. The
process to locate the water quality data currently is manual, labor
-
intensive,
and time
-
consuming. This project will replace that
effort
by connecting a web
-
based load duration curve tool to the STORET Results Web service.

This
represents a significant reduction in labor and time required to create and
analyze a flow duration curve, and will be used by watershed managers,
consultants, and environmental management entities.


For the user of the load duration tool, there are specific data requirements. The
user first locates USGS flow data and then locates water quality samples which
were collected during the period that flow data exists. In other words specific time
periods of

data are important as well as specific analytes. In the TMDL process only
certain analytes are addressed, and information on other water quality testing
parameters is not needed. The project will set up a geo
-
RSS feed tailored to provide
information from
the WQX that is pertinent to the TMDL process as needed by the
load duration tool.
Often
the data
they do discover this way is not appropriate to
the TM
DL

process or does not cover the appropriate time and the user wastes
resources in the search.

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figure
2.2 from
EPA 841
-
B
-
07
-
006


In the figure above, from an EPA document, a sample flow duration curve is
displayed and includes water quality data as diamonds and points. The
hydrologic condition is the marked by vertical lines and labels across the top of
t
he graph. The significant point is that some BMPs only affect certain flow
conditions and those the conditions that represent the greatest load represent
the most profitable target for BMPs.


Aspect two of this proposal is the preparation and upload of six data sets.
Indiana laws (I.C 15
-
16
-
4, I.C 15
-
16
-
5) authorize OISC to administer registration,
storage, use and application of pesticides within the state. A major statute
responsibility of t
he agency is to prevent impacts to Indiana surface and
ground water quality and the environment during regulated activities. The
OISC water quality program systematically addresses potential impacts by
identifying pesticides of interest and pesticides of
concern.


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Pesticide active ingredients of concern in Indiana and other pesticide state lead
agencies become the focus of regulatory and voluntary management measures
in order to mitigate potential water quality impacts. Examples of key pesticide
program

management measures evaluation include:



BMP implementation strategies



Nonpoint source watershed monitoring strategies



Utilization of internal monitoring data and data from pesticide
registrants or other sources



Coordination of pesticide management measure
s with other federal, state
agency or research institutions including monitoring data, data on
assessments and program performance


Six d
ata sets that would be useful in improving compliance and environmental
stewardship associated with pesticides have be
en identified and are
summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Water Quality Data Description

Sampling
program

# PWS
Systems/wells

Chemical Name

Sample

Frequen
cy

Abbreviated References



Surface

Water

Acetochlor
Registra
-
tion
Partnership
(ARP) /25

PWS
systems

atrazine,
acetochlor,
alachlor,
metolachlor, acid
aniline
metabolites

1995


2001


Bi
-
weekly

Acetochlor Registration Partnership
(ARP) Monitoring Study of Atrazine
in Surfac
e Water Source CWSs

http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/conten
t/full/34/3/877

Novartis
Atrazine PWS
Voluntary
Monitoring /7
PWS systems

atrazine +
triazine
metabolites (3)

1997
-

2002

Bi
-
weekly

Summary of Voluntary Sampling
Program at Selected Community
Water Supplies and
related analytical
results

-

Study #45145601

http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs
/atrazine_combined_docs.pdf

Atrazine/Simazi
ne
Reregistration

/14

PWS
systems

atrazine,
simazine Total

TCT (triazine
metabolites
(
3)


2003
-

present

Bi
-
weekly


Atrazine Interim Risk Mana
gement
and Reregistration

http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs
/atrazine_combined_docs.pdf

Simazine

Surface Water CWS

Monitoring Program (pgs 51


54)

http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/rereg
istration/REDs/simazine_red.pdf



Ground

Water

Novartis
atrazine,
1993

Novartis/States Rural Well Survey of
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Atrazine

Ground Water
Study /93

private wells
1

simazine,
metolachlor,
triazine
metabolites (3)

One
time

Atrazine Chloro
-
triazine Degradates
and Hydroxy
-
Triazine Degradates in
1500 Rural Wells



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Acetochlor Registration Partnership (ARP)
Monitoring Study of Atrazine in Ground
Water

-

Study #
45728401

http://www.epa.gov/o
ppsrrd1/REDs
/atrazine_combined_docs.pdf

OISC/IDEM
Pesticide
Baseline Water
Quality
Sampling Study


/383

private
wells

29 pesticides

1997


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1
Data sharing restriction regarding sample collection names (homeowner) and
address.

2

TBD = To Be Determined


The US EPA Region 5 Environmental Scientist in the Pesticide Program Section
(Bruce Wilkinson) indicated that as part of the FIFRA Cooperative Agreement
reporting requirements, the EPA would like to determine the proper method for
transferring ground and surface water monitoring data collected by or utilized
by each FIFRA state lead agency to Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) for use in
the Pesticide Registration Review Process.


The OISC is the agency responsible
for FIFRA within

Indiana. The data overviewed in Table 1 will be evaluated and
appropriate data made available via XML web services. Completion of this effort
will provide a method for the transfer of this data.


Transfer of the technology developed in this project will
be accomplished in
several ways. Two workshops will be conducted for potential users of the new
data placed on the Exchange Network, and two workshops will be held for
potential users of the decision support tools. The data and decision support
tools wil
l be web accessible so their availability will be advertised within
Indiana and nationally.



The decision support tools developed can be readily extended to other states.
Previous decision support tools developed by the investigators have been extende
d
to include other states within US EPA Region 5 and even nationally in several
instances. The investigators will inform other state agencies with similar missions
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about the availability of the decision support tools and the potential to extend these
tool
s for use within their states.





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Project G
oals

1.

Enhance

the Load Duration Tool to allow users to simultaneously consume
water quality data from the WQX, a Geo
-
RSS data flow from the Office of the
Indiana State Chemist, water flow data from the USGS real
-
time stream flow
gauge network
, and water quality data fr
om the USGS Water Data for the
Nation site
.

This existing
decision support tool

currently allows only manual
upload of water quality data.
Enhancements proposed have been identified
as priorities by stakeholders using the tool as well as potential users.

T
he
user communit
y includes watershed and client

staff constructing TMDL's
,
watershed groups, and environment and natural resource protection
professionals
.


The

following enhancements will be completed.

1.1

D
isplay
on the
map
the
locations of available
and ap
propriate
water
quality data. The
LDC
user
interface is based on Google M
aps, and
centers around the user selecting a USGS stream flow gauge. Currently
the user then discovers water quality sampling data that is nearby
through any means they know,
search o
ut appropriate analytes, t
hen
they
manually reformat available data into an explicitly formatted text
file,
and manually upload

to the web tool for calculations. The data
discovery process is supported by tools such as the Indiana water
quality monitoring inventory which is a web
-
based map of known
sample locations. However there is no automatic connection between
known sample loc
ations and data sets. The addition of the ability to
query

by clicking
a point on the map to
result in
a geo
-
RSS feed that
can offer appropriate water quality data from the

AWQMS database
and
the USGS Water Data for the Nation site
formatted for the tool
w
ill be a
huge benefit.

This step requires data discovery
of appropriate data
from the database
s

and parsing
of location data
in advance of creating
a
map display.

1.2

Adapt the load duration curve tool to use a geo
-
RSS feed as input.
The
project wil
l create a
geo
-
RSS feed of the

OISC
data sets
(see 2.4)
after
they are associated with events on the NHD
,

and other TMDL
appropriate data which will be consumed from the STORET Results web
service
. The tool will be adapted to use

these as input. This public feed
will be available both to the tool and also available to other users who
might be interested in consuming this data.

1.3

Implement in LDC an annual load module using LOADEST calculations.

Add

an annual load module to the tool.

The current tool performs
calculations

to create an estimated load for a watershed, but does not
create appropriate outputs for the user community. Minor
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improvements in the output features of this tool would greatly benefit
teams constructing TMDL's and
conducting other assessments where
pollutant load information is useful
.
The tool creates an estimate of
distributions of daily loads, which is useful and the basis for TMDL
development. However
,

the tool currently does not produce an annual
load, which is

needed to actually implement the TMDLs and other
watershed plans at the watershed level.
The USGS LOADEST tool for
computing annual loads will be incorporated into the tool.
Th
e ability
to compute annual loads
would provide the user community (including

Indiana Department of Environmental Management
(IDEM)
Assessment
and Watershed Planning Branch staff, watershed managers, consulting
engineers, and pesticide researchers) a much stronger tool.

1.4

Implement in LDC a standardized output report page.

User feedb
ack
has determined that the output page standardize for use in the team
deal process would be of great benefit to many in the user community.

1.5

Implement in LDC an option to display and r
eport the reduction
required to reach an annual goal

for a load reduction.

User feedback
has determined that the ability to input goals for load reduction as they
are developed would significantly the process of TMDLs development
by replacing a large amount of manual calculation sometimes beyond
the abiliti
es of the watershed managers.

1.6

Implement in LDC an option to use EPA STEPL approach reduction
coefficients as BMP targets.

Since the EPA STEPL approach is used in
many states, the ability to use it as an input to the online mall would
greatly enhance the ac
ceptance by multiple states of the new tool.

1.7

Implement in LDC the ability to evaluate the impact of BMPs by
displaying projected data on the load duration curve or target
concentration graphics.

Another upgrade requested by user feedback
from watershed man
agers and from state environmental managers is a
graphical display of a projected impact effect of a BMP. For example a
projected 10% reduction of phosphorus during moderate and high flow
conditions is difficult to translate into a load reduction because i
t only
occurs during some flow stages. Currently manually a user must
recalculate the load at every stage of flow if one is changed, this could
be automated in the model easily, and would promote wider acceptance
of the model.

1.8

Improved GIS locations and
provide geospatial metadata for s
everal
FIFRA
data sets held by the
Office of the Indiana State C
hemist
. These
data

would be of use
by

teams constructing TMDL
s. These
FIFRA
data
are not
currently
available from WQX nor through other user
-
friendly
methods.
The data sets exist
now
within

spreadsheets. See
the
table
below

for a list of these data
. The spreadsheet data must be connected
to the NHD water features.

This step requires
detailed analysis
within a
GIS system,
which includes
documenting the location
data, reconciling
the location data to fit in a geo
-
RSS stream (
coordinate conversion to
l
atitude
-
longitude rather than meters).

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1.9

Create events on the NHD data set to represent the improved locations.
This step will require
a detailed GIS process
that
will
use

the recently
released plug
-
in for ArcGIS to locate the sampling point
s

against the
NHD layers and create an event for the sampling point.


The second aspect of the project involves preparing and facilitating the upload of
several data sets which are no
t currently in the EN. These data sets would be of
particular interest to a

team

constructing TMDLs if they were aware of these data.
The steps below will prepare the data for upload into the EPA's CDX node using the
node created at the Office of the India
na State Chemist through EPA funding in
2010. This particular node was established and credentialed in 2010 and is in the
process of starting data flows.

2

Water quality exchange

(WQX) flow. T
he O
ffice of the Indiana State C
hemist

(OISC)

has pesticide sampling data sets used for label registration studies.
These data are not currently in the WQX AWQMS database. These data sets need

to be associated with NHD,
mapped to the XML schema, implemented as a data
flow, and also published as a geo
-
RSS Web service.

2.1

Map OISC FIFRA datasets to appropriate
WQX

schema. This would
include a detailed process to transfer the data into the XML schema.

2.2

Map
the
locations of
the
different

FIFRA

data sets to appropriate
GIS
features using the
NHD event location
s

built in 1.9
. This would include
a detailed GIS process which will

attach additional attributes to the data
sets.
This process will involve around
X
.

thousand sample locations.

2.3

Implement the flow to CDX (EPA’S node). The Office of the Indiana State
Ch
emist
has

construct
ed

a node under separate funding which include
d

setting up,
credentialing,
configuration, and testing of the node.
T
he
t
ask for this project
will be to implement
moving

these specific data
sets through that node.

2.4

Publish a geo
-
RSS feed.
The project will set up a geo
-
RSS feed tailored t
o
provide information from the W
QX that is pertinent to the TMDL
process as needed by the load duration tool.

2.5

Publish a WMS web service to allow other applications to do spatial
query against these data sets
. This Web service will support spatial
queries, in other words querying by map location, either against the
WMS service from a map click or by passi
ng a latitude
-
longitude to the
g
eo
-
RSS

stream (2.4) to provide appropriate water quality data from the
data

set.

2.6

Create written documentation and t
rain state employees at OISC to
process data sets for EN flow.


2.7

Create web
-
based documentation for the new tool and t
rain the user
groups
,

which includes

state employees at Indiana Department of
Environmental Management
,

in the use

of the improved web
-
based tool

to integrate project outputs into the
TMDL
program’s

business
operations
.


2.8

Establish a technical oversight committee to advise the principles on
t
he broader needs of consumers of pesticide data such as watershed
managers, who are the primary beneficiaries of this project.

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2.9

Perform two workshops for users of the

pesticide data sets.

2.10

Perform two workshops for users of the online LDC tool.


outputs with

dates
,

The schedule of outputs should be detailed enough to demonstrate an applicant's
ability to track progress toward each goal. Each proposed goal should have at least
one such outcome. Examples of project outputs might include technical products
such

as schema or EN access tools and services. Non
-
technical outputs might include
the creation of workgroups, issuance of RFPs or other major project actions or
events.

O
utcomes
: Examples of outcomes that support environmental results include:
improving the timeliness and accuracy of environmental data; reducing the burden
and costs of data management and reporting; strengthening environmental decision
making by enhancing data ac
cess for environmental
professionals

and the public.


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Table of
Goals, Outputs, Target Dates and Outcomes

Goal

O
utput

Target D
ate

O
utcome

Upgrade and the load duration tool

1.1

display map locations of
data supported by project.
3

11/30/2011

Electronic
availability of
high
-
quality data from the
exchange network to
general users.

1.2
Adapt the current Load
Duration Curve tool to use a
geo
-
RSS feed as input.

03/30/2012

Greatly strengthen a tool
for environmental
decision
-
making.

1.3
P
roduce an annual
load
module for LDC tool.
2

12/30/2011

Improved usability of the
tool for creating TMDL's,

Improved efficiency when
used by agencies and
groups in the TMDL
process

1.4 Implement in LDC a
standardized output report
page.

2

11/30/2011

Improves efficiency
of
data exchange by
standardizing locations.


1.5 Implement in LDC an
option to display and report
the reduction required to
reach an annual goal for a
load reduction.

2


Improved environmental
decision
-
making by data
users.

1.6 Implement in LDC an
option to use EPA STEPL
approach reduction
coefficients as BMP targets.

2


Improved efficiency
,

Improved environmental
decision
-
making by data
users.

1.7 Implement in LDC the
ability to evaluate the
impact of BMPs
.

2


Improved environmental
decision
-
maki
ng by data
users.

1.8
Improve GIS locations
and provide geospatial
metadata for several FIFRA
data sets.

11/30/2011

Improved decision
-
making
with more accurate
location data.

improved

access thorough
accurate metadata will
make these data sets
useful the community.

1.9
Create events for FIFRA
data sets on the NHD data
set.

11/30/2011

Improves efficiency of
data exchange by
standardizing locations.





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WQX
Data

Flow

2.1
Map OISC
FIFRA datasets
to appropriate WQX schema.

03/30/2012

Increased availability to
other exchange network
partners.

2.2 attached additional GIS
attributes to data events.

03/30/2012

Improved environmental
decision
-
making by data
users.

2.3
Implement the
flow to
CDX.
2

03/30/2012

Electronic availability of
some FIFRA data sets not
previously available.

2.4
Publish a WMS web
service.

06/01/2013

Greatly improves
electronic availability of
data to other developers

2.5

Publish a geo
-
RSS feed.

06/01/2013

Provides new electronic
availability to the public
users


2.6 C
reate written
documentation and train
state employees at OISC to
upload future data to the
EN.

0
1
/01/2013

Integrate project outputs
into the OISC pesticide
programs‘ business
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2.7 Create written in web
-
based documentation for the
new tool
to

train the user
groups

0
2
/01/2013

Integrate project outputs
into Indiana TMDL
process business
operations


2.8
E
stablish a

technical
oversight committee

with
members from state and
federal agencies.

11/30/2011

expand the flow of data,

promote adoption of the tool
by user community as a
normal business practice


2.9

perform two workshops
for users of the pesticide
data sets

06/01/2013

promote adoption of
the tool
by user community as a
normal business practice


2.10 perform two workshops
for users of the online LDC
tool.

06/01/2013

promote adoption of the tool
by user community as a
normal business practice


These tasks also accomplish the following inte
rmediate outcome:

1
improved business processes that facilitate burden reduction on the regulated
community.

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2

Increased efficiency of data exchange by reducing administrative burden,
including reducing or eliminating manual intervention for tasks

3
economics of scale through shared infrastructure to achieve reduced costs and
expanded functionality

environmental results
.
(
need to fill in from RFP categories
)















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R
eferences

An Approach for Using Load Duration Curves in the Development of TMDLs,

EPA 841
-
B
-
07
-
006 August 2007, Office of Wetlands, Oceans, & Watersheds
,


U
S. Environmental Protection Agency







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You must limit the project narrative to 10 single spaced pages. The

ten
-
page limit
does not include the following:

cover letter,

Document
SF
-
424,

description of programmatic resources and personnel,

description of roles of project partners,

detailed budget,

Exchange Network Implementation plan described in section
III
-
B.