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SDWIS NextGen Update

Work began again in earnest this month on the development of the new drinking water data system, SDWIS NextGen.  As Greg Fabian, the EPA project leader reported to the ASDWA Member Meeting last week, the project cleared the “phase gate” — an internal approval process that gives OGWDW the go ahead to continue full development of NextGen.  As a result, a new “sprint” has already started and another will begin next month.  These sprints are short term, intensive development projects that address specific business needs for the new data system and generate individual components of NextGen that can be reviewed by the entire SDWIS community.  The current sprint is focused on security and system administration and subsequent early sprints will focus on inventory.  The sprint teams consist of a number of individuals from EPA and their contractor (Indus) as well as state “Subject Matter Experts” (SMEs).  The SMEs are drawn from 11 “Focus Groups” that cover various aspects of program implementation like inventory, compliance, monitoring, laboratory, etc.  ASDWA recently requested new state volunteers to bolster the focus group numbers in preparation for the many sprints that will happen over the next year or so.

In parallel with the sprints, EPA is conducting “proof of concept” evaluations for a business rules engine and web services.  The proof of concept will demonstrate whether these tools can be effectively used in the final NextGen application.  The business rules engine is a way of building the basic business rules (the SDWA regulations, primarily) into NextGen without detailed coding by programmers.  This makes it easier and quicker to update the data system when new rules are issued by EPA.  Web services would provide a secure way to link outside tools developed by the states, referred to as interfacing applications, to NextGen.   Information from the proof of concept evaluations will let EPA determine where and how these tools can be incorporated into NextGen.

The ongoing development of NextGen will provide the majority of the content for the State-EPA Data Management Users Conference to be held in Ft Worth, TX on May 7-10, 2013.