Everyone, from state and federal water quality managers to the average citizen, can now find information on bodies of water of interest to them with a new EPA Web site.
The site, called WATERS (Watershed Assessment, Tracking and Environmental Results), brings together water quality information that before now has only been available on individual state agency homepages and at several EPA Web sites.
WATERS uses EPA''s EnviroMapper tool to display the information. EnviroMapper is an interactive, web-based geographic information system application that allows for the creation of customized maps portraying the nation''s surface waters along with a collection of environmental data.
At this time, users can find information on waters classified by states as impaired (those waters not attaining water quality standards) in all states except Alaska, and on the purpose or use of each water body (such as whether or not it is designated for protection as a drinking water supply, for recreation use or for fishing) in 16 states.
Users can also search for water quality information for a particular body of water by clicking on an interactive map, which is currently available for 11 states.
EPA will update WATERS as new information becomes available, eventually covering all 50 states, and will add links to data on ambient water quality, drinking water quality, polluted runoff, fish consumption advisories, facility discharge outfalls and other information.
For more information on the Web site go to www.epa.gov/waters.
by Virginia Sutcliffe