EPA and states are cooperating on the planning and design of a centrally hosted modernized Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS). The process is being guided by the SDWIS Modernization Board, which consists of state and EPA leaders in drinking water programs and enterprise information management.
State drinking water programs need support to oversee public health compliance at nearly 150,000 public water systems. To help, EPA has been providing states with Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) state software since the 1990s to reduce data management burden and promote national consistency in state implementation of the Public Water System Supervision Program under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This suite of software enables drinking water programs to: manage water system inventory information; receive and manage large volumes of system compliance monitoring data; manage sampling and monitoring schedules; determine candidate drinking water rules violations via the Compliance Determination Subsystem; and track enforcement. It also provides tools to assist with required quarterly reporting of violations, inventory, and actions data to EPA’s SDWIS Fed database. This software is in critical need of modernization.
The SDWIS Modernization effort, which aims to identify a technical solution that meets the needs of all stakeholders, employs a development approach that operationalizes the principles identified in the E-Enterprise Digital Strategy. This modernization effort is expected to reduce state data management work and enhance the timeliness and accuracy of drinking water data transferred among drinking water systems, primacy agencies, and EPA.
The planning phase, completed in July 2020, included determination and selection of the best option for future modernization of the system. In this phase, the SDWIS Modernization Board recommended an EPA-hosted, centralized system. EPA accepted the Board’s recommendation for EPA to provide a centralized system. The pre-development phase kicked off in Fall 2020 and concluded in August 2021. EPA and states partnered in January through March 2021 to evaluate vendor responses to an EPA Request for Information (RFI), concluding that a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution is not viable and informing EPA’s decision to pursue a custom build approach.
In April 2021, the technical contractor, under the newly awarded five-year IT mission support contract, developed a proposed approach for SDWIS Modernization development. EPA and states partnered in May through July 2021 to evaluate the contractor’s proposed development approach to SDWIS Modernization and produced a report that outlined recommendations for adjusting and supplementing the approach shared with the SDWIS Modernization Board in August 2021.
The design phase began in September 2021. In the coming months, state-EPA groups will provide input on several design activities.