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SDWIS PROJECT UPDATE: September 2019

It’s been a while since our last project update, and it’s safe to say a lot happened in that short time. We’ve much to cover, so let’s jump into it…

Quick Announcements

  1. Security Vulnerability Notice for SDWIS/State Users – EPA released a security vulnerability advisory notice for SDWIS/State that provides information on a potential issue associated with user authentication. Read the advisory here.
  2. The September All Things SDWIS webinar has been rescheduled for October 3rd from 3-4PM ET. Reminders and calendar event invitations have been updated with the new information.

The Great Prime Pause

Back in June, ASDWA informed our members that the EPA SDWIS Prime Team identified an issue with the SDWS Prime/CMDP database that would require a system evaluation and fixes that led to an Agency decision to pause development of SDWIS Prime. EPA is currently undergoing their internal assessment, and we expect it will be some time before we hear about potential options for a path forward.

In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about the technical details of what’s known, EPA shared documentation last month on the initial analysis and assessment here. Below, you’ll find additional resources that go into detail about the issue and interim plans.

As part of their efforts to promote transparency throughout this process, EPA initiated a new thread on ASDWA’s SDWIS Forums to centralize discussion on the analysis artifacts shared and to answer any questions from the SDWIS Community. Please contact Anthony DeRosa of ASDWA for access.

Additional resources:

  • DMUC 19: Opening Session – this video capture from the Data Management Users Conference includes remarks from Anita Thompkins, EPA (at minute-mark 14:00) speaking directly to the issues with Prime and the Agency’s response.
  • DMUC 19: SDWIS Prime Project Update – this session focuses specifically on the Prime Project and includes remarks from Michael Plastino, Renee Morris, and Tina Chen of EPA’s Infrastructure Branch along with audience Q&A.
  • All Things SDWIS: August 2019 – the August All Things SDWIS call includes information on Prime, SDWIS/State 3.4 development plans, and additional information about CMDP.

SDWIS 3.4

With SDWIS Prime on hold, EPA is dedicating resources to address critical security vulnerabilities affecting SDWIS/State to ensure this core suite of software continues to serve states’ needs.. The following document details the scope of the upgrades and roll-out timelines:

https://www.asdwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SDWIS-State-3.4-Development-Roll-Out-Plans_8_20_2019-1.docx

Again, EPA initiated a discussion thread on ASDWA’s SDWIS Legacy Forums to respond to questions and collect feedback from states on the Plan. Another discussion thread shares additional information on issues and fixes proposed for SDWIS/State by users outside the scope of the planned upgrades.

Additional resources:

  • DMUC 19: SDWIS Legacy Session – this video capture from the Data Management Users Conference opens with Renee Morris of EPA’s Infrastructure Branch walking through the plans for SDWIS/State 3.4.
  • All Things SDWIS: August 2019 – the August All Things SDWIS call includes information on SDWIS/State 3.4 development plans and roll-out strategy.

Compliance Monitoring Data Portal (CMDP)

Again, resources freed up with SDWIS modernization on hold have allowed for greater focus on CDMP development and implementation support. At the time of this writing, EPA has shared with the SDWIS Community a strategy to prioritize CMDP development and communications through January 2020. The strategy focuses on:

  • Addressing Technical Debt
  • Improvements to the User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX)
  • Improved Samples Validation
  • Sample Retraction
  • Monthly Operating Reports

On the communications front, EPA released a new Service Level Agreement (SLA) for the CMDP Help Center. The SLA, posted to ASDWA’s SDWIS User Community, outlines standard response times for processing tickets and the process for escalating support.

You may review the details of the strategy here.

ASDWA has configured a CMDP Forum for peer-to-peer support. Of note is a post last month from North Carolina seeking to centralize state requests for CMDP functionality and fixes. States with interest can view NC’s list and add to it here.

Additional Resources:

ASDWA/EPA Data Management Users Conference: 2019

We held a very successful DMUC in Atlanta, GA, with 168 onsite participants and an additional 130 attendees participating remotely via webinar. All of the videos and summary materials from the Conference are available in the SDWIS User Community of ASDWA.org. Some take-aways:

  • SDWIS PRIME
    • States appreciated the communications on the project at all levels, even if some want more details. EPA did a fine job of informing the community of what is known and what next steps to expect.
    • Most states seem interested in some level of forensic analysis of the Prime issues. With respect to the resources states have invested in the project over the years, it makes sense to continue moving forward as partners in this effort – which means, sharing essential findings that may inform future actions and decision-making with the understanding that EPA may be unable to share certain information. EPA has conveyed that they will be conducting a lessons learned assessment.
    • We have some application developers with experience building state-apps, including applications built on SDWIS, but none of these individuals are involved in any of our governance, workgroups, or committees. It would be beneficial to assemble these contacts into a “Technical Advisory Committee” of sorts. It might not be a standing committee but perhaps assembled based on need, or a workgroup managed under the Data Management Advisory Committee (DMAC).
    • Several state comments focused on exploring the future of Prime as an open-source project, although the nuance of such a suggestion requires far more consideration.
  • SDWIS Legacy
    Some states expressed confusion over the scope of the work planned for SDWIS/State. A fact sheet that specifically outlines the scope and timelines is now available to the community.
  • CMDP
    States requested a “one-stop-shop” for CMDP. We have some excellent information on the ASDWA website but could expand it considerably to include a development roadmap, changelogs/release notes, FAQs, helpdesk database, training options, and peer-to-peer resources. A future effort should review existing materials/videos to delete outdated information and promote helpful info/vids.
  • EN GRANTS
    Some states have outstanding Exchange Network Grants, specific to Prime, that now seem in limbo. EPA has conveyed that if states have questions regarding their EN Grant, they should consult with the EPA Regional EN Grant Coordinator. Justin Wright is the EPA SDWIS Team POC for any SDWIS Team input that may be helpful in states’ communications with Regional EN Grant Coordinators.
  • TRACKING UNREGULATED COMPOUNDS
    Some states expressed concerns over data management for unregulated contaminants.

Data Management Advisory Committee (DMAC)

As part of their quarterly Best Practices webinar series, the DMAC recently held a training for tracking Lead and Copper Rule (LCR) compliance in SDWIS/State 3.3. The training, led by Dianna Heaberlin of SAIC, can be viewed on the SDWIS Community Video section of ASDWA.org here.

Data Management/SDWIS Communications – Staying in the Loop (reminders)

Lastly, a quick review of the opportunities that exist to stay up to date on data management and SDWIS issues:

  • Email – critical information will continue to be sent directly to community members to ensure all impacted parties receive important communications. Please contact Anthony DeRosa if you are not receiving data-focused emails.
  • Newsfeed – ASDWA maintains a news feed dedicated to data management and SDWIS. You can track the feed via RSS at https://www.asdwa.org/category/data-management/sdwis-prime/feed/ or as part of your subscription to the ASDWA Update.
  • ASDWA website and discussion forums – all community members can request access to the SDWIS User Community and associated discussion forums. If you are not a member, please contact Anthony DeRosa for access.