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. 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 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; and track enforcement. It also provides tools for required quarterly reporting of violations, inventory, and actions data to EPA’s SDWIS Fed. SDWIS State is in critical need of modernization.
The SDWIS Modernization effort 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, EPA accepted the SDWIS Modernization Board recommendation of an EPA-hosted, 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, delivering recommended approach adjustments in August 2021. Accomplishment during the design phase (September 2021 through July 2022) include:
- The SDWIS Modernization Board providing feedback on the draft Concept of Operations document and on the draft data exchange solutions options document.
- A state-EPA workgroup providing input on the data model through a year-long series of sessions.
- EPA’s Office of Water and Office of Mission Support performing extensive assessments on system architecture, hosting solutions, and software technologies – resulting in the July 2022 decision to transition into development phase.
The State-EPA User Acceptance Testing Group will provide ongoing requirements and testing during Agile development. The Board will provide quarterly oversight and the user community will periodically be invited to review the system in progress.