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Nonpoint Source Water Pollution

Nonpoint Source > Watershed Assessment > Water Monitoring and You > Using Other Data Sources > U.S. EPA Data U.S. EPA Data

Other Data Sources: U.S. EPA Data

The U.S. EPA Storage and Retrieval (STORET) system is the repository of the water quality monitoring data collected by water resource management groups across the country. These organizations, including states, tribes, watershed groups, other federal agencies, volunteer groups, and universities, submit data to the STORET in order to make their data publicly accessible. Data can then be re-used for analysis.

STORET has been available on the Internet for many years. Currently, it is divided into two separate databases, according to when it was originally supplied to the U.S. EPA, and into which of the two STORET databases the data was originally archived. The U.S. EPA calls the older of these two databases the STORET Legacy Data Center (LDC), and the more current database the STORET Data Warehouse (DW).

The data in both of the databases in STORET are of documented quality, meaning that a certain amount of information about the data, including where, how, why, when, and what was monitored must be included with all data submissions. Each sampling result in STORET is accompanied by information on where the sample was taken (latitude, longitude, state, county, Hydrologic Unit Code, and a brief site identification), when the sample was gathered, the medium sampled (e.g., water, sediment, fish tissue), and the name of the organization that sponsored the monitoring. In addition, STORET contains information on why the data was gathered; sampling and analytical methods used; the laboratory used to analyze the samples; the quality control checks used when sampling, handling the samples, and analyzing the data; and the personnel responsible for the data.

The Water Quality Exchange (WQX) is a new framework that makes it easier for States, Tribes, and others to submit and share water quality monitoring data with the STORET over the Internet. States, Tribes, and other organizations can now submit data directly to the publicly-accessible STORET Data Warehouse using the WQX framework. The STORET Data Warehouse will continue to be the repository for all modern STORET data and will now also be the new home for data submitted through WQX. WQX will eventually replace the distributed STORET Database (including the STORET Data Entry Module, Reports Module, and STORET Import Module or SIM) as the primary means of submitting water quality monitoring data to U.S. EPA.

Please note that the U.S. EPA does not change or filter incoming data. This means that when pulling data out of the Warehouse, users must be aware that they are responsible for screening the data for their use. There are tutorials available on this website to help you with your STORET/WQX data storage and retrieval needs.

Additional Resources

  • Envirofacts:
    • This offers several choices for downloading data. The user can build their own search using several options and download the results to a file. The Geospatial Download feature enables a user to download spatial data files for use in mapping and reporting applications. The databases available include the Facility Registry System (FRS), Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), Permit Compliance System (PCS), Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS), and several land-related programs that collect data for public access.
  • U.S. EPA Website:
    • See the results of beach monitoring conducted by state and local environmental and public health officials.
  • The National Nutrient Database (NUTDB):
    • The NUTDB serves as an information resource for U.S. EPA numeric nutrient criteria recommendations to states, tribes, and others in establishing scientifically defensible numeric nutrient criteria. A fact sheet about the database (September 2001) is available as well as data download options.

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