Drinking Water Dashboard Help

Overview

A dashboard is a data interface designed for easy reading. It allows multiple metrics to be monitored and displayed at a summary level, while offering the supporting data at a lower or more granular level. The dashboards found on the Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website are specialized to track both facility -- or in the case of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), public water systems (PWSs) -- and agency performance as they relate to compliance with and enforcement of environmental standards. The Drinking Water Dashboard also allows performance to be tracked for individual reservations. The dashboards in ECHO include charts, tables and links to additional information. The data on the dashboards are presented as a national view (aggregating relevant data from all of the nation's PWSs) or by state, tribal area, or territory. Users have access to additional filtration criteria, which can be displayed by selecting "Advanced" from the View Search Criteria dropdown. The dashboards support EPA's transparency efforts.

Users have the option of selecting from a fiscal year view or a calendar year view:

  • For the fiscal year view, data for all fiscal years since 2011, including the current one are presented. The fiscal year refers to the federal fiscal year, October 1 to September 30. Data for the current fiscal year in progress are shown as “year-to-date,” while data from previous fiscal years are complete. Please note that the current year's data are updated quarterly with a three-month lag, and so are subject to change until the delayed data are added to the database in January of the following year.
  • For the calendar year view, data are displayed to represent the annual national public water systems compliance report for the calendar years since 2014 in the interactive format. The calendar year data are updated annually. The annual national public water systems reports for calendar years before 2014 can be found under “Other Resources” on the dashboard. First time users for the interactive annual national PWS compliance dashboard report may find the Quick Start for First Time User Steps helpful.

We envision that the dashboard will evolve as users engage and identify their needs, and our compliance and enforcement programs change in response to new sources of data, monitoring technologies, and compliance tracking methods.

Activity Dashboard - The Activity Dashboard reflects counts of activities. Each report shows multiple years of data to provide context either at the national level or within a state, tribal area, or territory. The data are graphed and shown as an aggregate count, with the list of systems that compose the aggregate available when a user clicks on the graph.

Performance Dashboard - The Performance Dashboard reflects activities as percentage rates either based on the number of public water systems or the total number of the activity conducted. Each report provides a national average to provide context.

Data Source - The EPA system SDWIS-Fed is the source of all the data. It is the national database of record for compliance and enforcement activities conducted under the Safe Drinking Water Act. It is used by state, implementing tribe, and territory environmental agencies and by EPA.


Activity Dashboard

Key Terms

For the fiscal year view, data are displayed for all fiscal years since 2011. For the calendar year view, data are displayed for calendar years since 2014.

The dashboards are organized in a structure logical to compliance and enforcement programs. Select the "view more" pulldown at the top of each dashboard section to see a list of additional charts. Access chart drilldowns by clicking on the bars of each chart (drilldowns are currently available for most charts).

Note: To print the entire activity dashboard, you can press the Alt and Print Screen (PrtScn) Exit keys on your keyboard while on the dashboard page. This will copy an image of the selected window to your computer's clipboard, which you can then paste into word processor or image software to print. Print individual components of the dashboard by selecting the "Print" link below each chart.

Example of Drinking Water Activity Dashboard

Public Water Systems (PWSs)

Report Title Dashboard Shows

Public Water Systems by Type

Pie chart showing the number of:

  • Community Water Systems (CWSs)
  • Transient Non-Community Water Systems (TNCWSs),
  • Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems (NTNCWSs)

Technical Information

The dashboard delineates the number of public water systems into three categories.

  • Community water system (CWS) - A PWS that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents (e.g., homes, apartments and condominiums that are occupied year-round as primary residences).
  • Transient non-community water system (TNCWS) - A non-community PWS that does not regularly serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. A typical example is a campground or a highway rest stop that has its own water source, such as a drinking water well.
  • Non-transient non-community water system (NTNCWS) - A non-community PWS that regularly serves at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. A typical example of a non-transient non-community water system is a school or an office building that has its own water source, such as a drinking water well.

Each number count only includes systems that were active during some part of the fiscal or calendar year shown. Active refers to an operating status of operating, temporarily closed, or seasonal. For the fiscal year view, the number count for the current year is based on production data, which means the data could change with the quarterly updates if additional PWSs become active throughout the fiscal year. For the calendar year view the number count is final when displayed.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
Public Water Systems by Size Pie chart showing the number of systems by size.

  • Very Small       500 or less
  • Small               501 - 3,300
  • Medium            3,301 - 10,000
  • Large               10,001 - 100,000
  • Very Large      >100,000

Technical Information

Inventory of Public Water Systems by Size - System Size by Population Served

Small and very small PWSs comprise the approximately 95% of all PWSs, but they serve just 12 percent of all consumers. Small PWSs include both community and non-community water systems. Some examples of non-community systems include office buildings, schools, campgrounds, or highway rest stops with their own water source, such as a drinking water well.

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Site Visits

This section displays information about on-site compliance monitoring and assistance activities at public water systems. On-site visits are conducted to evaluate particular aspects of a system's operation and maintenance activities.  Along with reviews of any information EPA, states, implementing tribes, or territories require to be submitted, these activities help EPA and its co-regulators ensure that systems comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWS with Sanitary Surveys Bar chart displaying the count of systems with one or more completed sanitary surveys during the review period, with the "Type" split identified in separate bars.
PWS with Site Visits Bar chart displaying the count of systems with one or more site visits, including sanitary surveys, during the review period.

Technical Information

PWSs with Site Visits

Includes occurrences of all reported site visits, including required sanitary surveys, technical assistance, sample collections, and site inspections.

  • Date - The date (MM/DD/YYYY) of the listed site visit.
  • Type - A description of the type of site visit conducted.
  • Agency - The lead agency that conducted the site visit.

PWSs with Sanitary Surveys

Primacy agencies (states, implementing tribes, territories, and implementing EPA regions) are required to ensure that on-site reviews called sanitary surveys are conducted and reported for each non-community water system every five years, and each community water system every three years, with a few exceptions.  Accordingly, in any year, we would expect to see sanitary surveys performed at roughly 33% of community water systems and roughly 20% of non-community water systems. A sanitary survey evaluates eight areas for compliance: water sources; treatment; distribution systems; finished water storage; pumps, pump systems and controls; monitoring, reporting and data verification; water system management and operations; and operator compliance with relevant requirements.  A full survey of all 8 elements may require multiple visits to a water system.  The dashboard counts sanitary surveys based on the date of the completion of the final element.

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Violations

This section displays information about public water systems with at least one violation of National Primary Drinking Water Standards, as reported by primacy agencies.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs with Any Violations Bar chart displaying the count of systems with at least one uncorrected violation of any type during the review period.
PWSs with Acute Health-based Violations Bar chart showing the number of systems with acute health-based violations. Acute contaminants are those that can immediately affect someone's health.
PWSs with Health-based Violations Bar chart showing the number of systems with health-based violations.
PWSs with Monitoring & Reporting Violations Bar chart showing the number of systems with monitoring and reporting violations.
PWSs with Public Notification & Other Violations
Bar chart showing the number of systems with public notification and “other” violations.

Technical Information

SDWA violations are displayed in the following general categories:

  • Health-based violations - Violations of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs), which specify the highest concentrations of contaminants or disinfectants, respectively, allowed in drinking water; or of treatment technique (TT) rules, which specify required processes intended to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water. MCLs, MRDLs, and treatment technique rules are all health-based drinking water standards.
  • Acute health-based violations - Health-based violations that have the potential to produce immediate illness.
  • Monitoring & reporting violations - Failure to conduct regular monitoring of drinking water quality, as required by SDWA, or to submit monitoring results in a timely fashion to the primacy agency or EPA.
  • Public notification & other violations - Failure to provide notification to the public as required by the Violations of Public Notification Rule and the Consumer Confidence Report Rule, and violations of other requirements such as those violations related to variances and exemptions.

Public water systems often have more than one uncorrected violation at the same time, and so may be counted in more than one category of violation during the same review period.  The bar for health-based violations represents the number of systems with at least one uncorrected health-based violation during the review period, regardless of whether it also has violations of other types at the same time.  Similarly, the bar for monitoring and reporting violations represents systems with at least one violation of that type, even if they also have other types of violations.

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Serious Violators

This section displays information about public water systems with unresolved serious, multiple, and/or continuing violations, as defined in EPA's Drinking Water Enforcement Response Policy.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
Serious Violators Bar chart displaying the number of systems on the serious violator list for at least one quarter of the year.

Technical Information

A public water system with unresolved serious, multiple, and/or continuing violations, as defined by EPA's Drinking Water Enforcement Response Policy, that must either return to compliance or be addressed by a formal enforcement action within six months of being designated a serious violator.

EPA designates serious violators so that the drinking water system and the primacy agency will act quickly to resolve the most significant drinking water violations. Many public water systems with violations, however, are not serious violators. Operators and the primacy agencies are expected to address the violations at non-serious violators as well, but without imposition of the deadlines applicable to serious violators. If the violations at a non-serious violator are left uncorrected, that system may become a serious violator. When a serious violator has returned to compliance or has been addressed by a formal enforcement action, it is no longer designated a serious violator. EPA updates its serious violator list on a quarterly basis.

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Enforcement

This section displays information about EPA, tribal, territorial, and state enforcement activity at public water systems.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs with Enforcement Actions Bar chart displaying the total number of systems that received one or more enforcement actions during the review year. Two bars are displayed for each year:  public water systems with formal enforcement actions and those with informal enforcement actions.

Technical Information

Enforcement actions taken by EPA, tribes, territories, or states in response to violations of SDWA may be classified into the following categories:

  • Formal enforcement action - An enforcement action taken to bring a non-compliant system back into compliance by a certain time, with an enforceable consequence if the schedule is not met. A formal enforcement action is based on a specific violation, requires specific actions necessary for the violator to return to compliance, and is independently enforceable without having to prove the original violation. Formal enforcement actions include issuing administrative orders, which specify actions the system must take to return to compliance; and assessing fines.
  • Informal enforcement action - An enforcement action that is intended to bring a system back into compliance, but falls short of a formal action. Informal enforcement actions include notices of violation, site visits, compliance meetings, injunctions, and public notifications.

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Return to Compliance

This section displays information about public water systems that returned to compliance.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs Returned to Compliance Bar chart displaying the number of systems returned to compliance.
Serious Violators Returned to Compliance Bar chart displaying the number of serious violators returned to compliance.

Technical Information

PWSs Returned to Compliance

The number of public water systems that corrected all ongoing violations during the year.

Serious Violators Returned to Compliance

The number of violating public water systems designated as a serious violator not more than 3 years earlier that completed correction of all their ongoing violations during the specified year.

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Performance Dashboard

Key Terms

For the fiscal year view, data are displayed for all fiscal years since 2011. For the calendar year view, data are displayed for calendar years since 2014.

The dashboards are organized in a structure logical to compliance and enforcement programs. Select the "view more" pulldown at the top of each dashboard section to see a list of additional charts. Access chart drilldowns by clicking on the bars of each chart (drilldowns are currently available for most charts).

Note: To print the entire performance dashboard, you can press the Alt and Print Screen (PrtScn) Exit keys on your keyboard while on the dashboard page. This will copy an image of the selected window to your computer's clipboard, which you can then paste into word processor or image software to print. Print individual components of the dashboard by selecting the "Print" link below each chart.

Example of Drinking Water Performance Dashboard

Public Water Systems

Report Title Dashboard Shows
Public Water Systems by Type Bar chart showing the number of:
  • Community Water Systems (CWSs)
  • Transient Non-Community Water Systems (TNCWSs)
  • Non-Transient Non-Community Water Systems (NTNCWSs)

Technical Information

The dashboard delineates the number of active public water systems into three categories.

  • Community water system (CWS) - A PWS that serves at least 15 service connections used by year-round residents or regularly serves at least 25 year-round residents (e.g., homes, apartments and condominiums that are occupied year-round as primary residences).
  • Transient non-community water system (TNCWS) - A non-community PWS that does not regularly serve at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. A typical example is a campground or a highway rest stop that has its own water source, such as a drinking water well.
  • Non-transient non-community water system (NTNCWS) - A non-community PWS that regularly serves at least 25 of the same persons over six months per year. A typical example of a non-transient non-community water system is a school or an office building that has its own water source, such as a drinking water well.

Within each category PWSs with no reported violations during the selected interval are represented in green. PWSs with at least one violations but that were not serious violators, are represented in yellow. PWSs that were serious violators are represented in red. Each number count only includes systems that were active when the data were frozen. Active systems include those whose operating status is operating, temporarily closed, or seasonal. The number count for the current fiscal year is based on production data, which means the data could change throughout the year. For the calendar year view, the number count is final when displayed.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
Public Water Systems by Size

Bar chart showing the number of systems by size

  • Very Small        500 or less
  • Small               501 - 3,300
  • Medium            3,301 - 10,000
  • Large              10,001 - 100,000
  • Very Large       >100,000

Technical Information

Inventory of Public Water Systems by Size - System Size by Population Served

The following table categorizes active water systems by the size of its reported retail population served. These categories are:

  • Very Small        500 or less
  • Small               501 - 3,300
  • Medium            3,301 - 10,000
  • Large               10,001 - 100,000
  • Very Large      >100,000

Small and very small PWSs comprise approximately 95% of all PWSs, but they serve just 12 percent of all consumers. Small PWSs include both community and non-community water systems. Some examples of non-community systems include office buildings, schools, campgrounds, or highway rest stops with their own water source, such as a drinking water well.

Within each category PWSs with no reported violations during the selected interval are represented in green. PWSs with at least one violations but that were not serious violators, are represented in yellow. PWSs that were serious violators are represented in red.

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Site Visits

This section displays information about on-site compliance monitoring and assistance activities at public water systems. On-site visits are conducted to evaluate particular aspects of a system's operation and maintenance activities. Along with reviews of any information EPA, tribes, territories, or states require to be submitted, these activities help EPA and its co-regulators ensure that systems comply with environmental laws and regulations.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWS with Sanitary Surveys Bar chart displaying the percentage of systems with one or more completed sanitary surveys during the review period, by type of system.
PWS with Site Visits Bar chart displaying the percentage of systems with one or more site visits, including sanitary surveys.

Technical Information

PWSs with Sanitary Surveys

Primacy agencies (states, implementing tribes, territories, and implementing EPA regions) are required to ensure that on-site reviews called sanitary surveys are conducted and reported for each non-community water system every five years, and each community water system every three years, with a few exceptions. Accordingly, in any fiscal year, we would expect to see sanitary surveys performed at roughly 33% of community water systems and roughly 20% of non-community water systems. A sanitary survey evaluates eight areas for compliance: water sources; treatment; distribution systems; finished water storage; pumps, pump systems and controls; monitoring, reporting and data verification; water system management and operations; and operator compliance with relevant requirements.  A full survey of all 8 elements may require multiple visits to a water system.  The dashboard counts sanitary surveys based on the date of the completion of the final element.

PWSs with Site Visits

Includes occurrences of all reported site visits, including required sanitary surveys, technical assistance, sample collections, and site inspections.

  • Date - The date (MM/DD/YYYY) of the listed site visit.
  • Type - A description of the type of site visit conducted.
  • Agency - The lead agency that conducted the site visit.

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Violations

This section displays information about percentage of all public water systems with violations of environmental regulations noted. In each chart, the bars show data for the selected state, tribal area, or territory, and the line shows the national percentages for context.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs with Any Violations Bar chart displaying the percentage of all systems with at least one uncorrected violation of any type during the review period.
PWSs with Acute Health-based Violations Bar chart showing the percentage of systems with acute health-based violations. Acute contaminants are those that can immediately affect someone's health. 
PWSs with Health-based Violations Bar chart showing the percentage of systems with health-based violations.
PWSs with Monitoring & Reporting Violations Bar chart showing the percentage of systems with monitoring and reporting violations.
PWSs with Public Notification & Other Violations Bar chart showing the percentage of systems with public notification and “other” violations.

Technical Information

Violations document a breach of a requirement. Violations are detected by assessment of sample results or reviews (including site visits). Violations may lead to legal actions or compliance orders. Violations are publicized, when required, by public notification. Violations may be remedied by compliance/enforcement remedies, such as improved filtration techniques or changes in procedures. Examples include: Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) violations, failure to replace lead service lines, monitoring and reporting violations, treatment technique violations, and procedural violations.

SDWA violations are displayed in the following general categories:

  • Health-based violations - Violations of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) or maximum residual disinfectant levels (MRDLs), which specify the highest concentrations of contaminants or disinfectants, respectively, allowed in drinking water; or of treatment technique (TT) rules, which specify required processes intended to reduce the amounts of contaminants in drinking water. MCLs, MRDLs, and treatment technique rules are all health-based drinking water standards.
  • Acute health-based violations - Health-based violations that have the potential to produce immediate illness.
  • Monitoring & reporting violations - Failure to conduct regular monitoring of drinking water quality, as required by SDWA, or to submit monitoring results in a timely fashion to the primacy agency or EPA.
  • Public Notifications & other violations - Failure to provide notification to the public as required by the Public Notification Rule and the Consumer Confidence Report Rule, and violations of other requirements such as those related to variances and exemptions.

Public water systems often have more than one uncorrected violation at the same time, and so may be counted in more than one category of violation during the same review period.  The bar for health-based violations represents the number of systems with at least one uncorrected health-based violation during the review period, regardless of whether it also has violations of other types at the same time.  Similarly, the bar for monitoring and reporting violations represents systems with at least one violation of that type, even if they also have other types of violations.

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Serious Violators

This section displays information about public water systems designated as serious violators for at least one quarter during the period of review. EPA's 2009 SDWA Enforcement Response Policy defines serious violators and asserts that they should be addressed with formal enforcement or otherwise returned to compliance within six months of becoming a serious violator.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
Serious Violators Bar chart displaying the percentage of all systems on the serious violator list (state, tribal, and territory percentages are compared with the national percentage).

Technical Information

A public water system with unresolved serious, multiple, and/or continuing violations, as defined by EPA's Drinking Water Enforcement Response Policy, that must either return to compliance or be addressed by a formal enforcement action within six months of being designated a serious violator.

EPA designates serious violators so that the drinking water system and the primacy agency will act quickly to resolve the most significant drinking water violations. Many public water systems with violations, however, are not serious violators. Operators and the primacy agencies are expected to address the violations at non-serious violators as well, but without imposition of the deadlines applicable to serious violators. If the violations at a non-serious violator are left uncorrected, that system may become a serious violator. When a serious violator has returned to compliance or has been addressed by a formal enforcement action, it is no longer designated a serious violator. EPA updates its serious violator list on a quarterly basis.

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Enforcement

This section displays information about EPA, tribal, territorial, and state enforcement activity at public water systems.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs with Enforcement Actions Bar chart displaying the percentage of violating systems with new formal enforcement vs. new informal enforcement (state, tribal area, and territory percentages are compared with the national percentage).

Technical Information

Enforcement actions taken by EPA, tribe, territory, or states in response to violations of SDWA may be classified into the following categories:

  • Formal enforcement action - An enforcement action taken to bring a non-compliant system back into compliance by a certain time, with an enforceable consequence if the schedule is not met. A formal enforcement action is based on a specific violation, requires specific actions necessary for the violator to return to compliance, and is independently enforceable without having to prove the original violation. Formal enforcement actions include issuing administrative orders, which specify actions the system must take to return to compliance; and assessing fines.
  • Informal enforcement action - An enforcement action that is intended to bring a system back into compliance, but falls short of a formal action. Informal enforcement actions include notices of violation, site visits, compliance meetings, injunctions, and public notifications.

Percentages in this graph are based on the number of PWSs with enforcement actions divided by the number of PWSs with any violation.

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Return to Compliance

This section displays information about penalties at regulated systems that had alleged violations.

Report Title Dashboard Shows
PWSs Returned to Compliance Bar chart displaying the percentage of violating systems that returned all violations to compliance during at least one quarter the review period (state, tribal area, and territory percentages are compared with the national percentage).
Serious Violators Returned to Compliance Bar chart displaying the percentage of systems that were designated serious violators not more than 3 years earlier that returned to full compliance (state, tribal area, and territory percentages are compared with the national percentage).

Technical Information

PWSs Returned to Compliance

The percentage of violating public water systems that corrected all ongoing violations during at least one quarter during the year. Percentages in this graph are based on the number of PWS returned to compliance divided by the number of PWS with any violation.

Serious Violators Returned to Compliance

The percentage of public water systems designated as a serious violator not more than 3 years earlier that completed correction of all their ongoing violations during the specified year.

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Quick Start for First Time Users of National PWS Compliance Dashboard Report

The initial view of the Drinking Water Dashboard consists of several bar charts beginning with calendar year 2014. The data on the dashboard are graphed and shown as an aggregate count, with the list of public water systems that compose the aggregate available when the user clicks on the graph. By double clicking on the individual bars in the Violations graphs, one can access the underlying data about the public water systems with violations.

 

The dashboard also offers the user the option to view to the Detailed Facility Report (DFR) in ECHO by clicking on the link provided in the last column "Facility Reports".

 

The link takes the user to the DFR (similar to the screen below), where the “Enforcement and Compliance” section provides details specific to the listed system.

 

Using the dashboard, the public can access key annual statistics and multiple year trends in an easy-to-read bar chart format for all PWSs in the United States (when selecting a national view). The key statistics and trends cover the regulated universe, inspections, violation types, enforcement, and return-to-compliance information. Unlike the earlier published national reports, the dashboard also allows the public to access the statistics and trends at the state, territory and individual tribe levels. For detailed information on how to maximize use of the dashboard and download underlying data, see the above information.

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