Field Operations

EPA’s new app and website: How’s My Waterway?

by Brad Cooper, INDUS Corporation, Member of the EPA/How’s My Waterway Team

How's my waterway?

EPA’s new app and website, How’s My Waterway, helps people find information on the condition of their local waterways using a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. It makes science-based water quality information accessible and understandable for everyone.

For decades, EPA has collected information on healthy and polluted waterways that states and territories report under the Clean Water Act. Tens of thousands of polluted waters have been identified nationally, and much has been done to reduce pollution risks to people’s health, the economy and the environment. However, many Americans care the most about their local lake or stream rather than the thousands of waters described in national statistics. People want an easy way to learn about their local waters, pollution problems, why they matter, and what’s being done to restore and protect them. Rather than sifting through baffling scientific information stored in complex databases, an average citizen might say, “All I really want to know is: how’s MY waterway? And please tell me in words I understand.” EPA developed How’s My Waterway to provide answers quickly and clearly, anywhere at any time.

Waters nearest my location

How it works
SEARCH: Use a smart phone to find out about a lake, river, or stream while standing right at the water’s edge. Or check on any location in the US by entering a zipcode or place name on your computer, smart phone or tablet.

RETRIEVE: Instantly receive a list of waterways within about five miles of the search location. Each waterway is identified as unpolluted, polluted, or unas­sessed, along with the year its condition was reported. A map option offers a view of the search area with the waters color-coded by assessment status. Zoom in for more details or pan across the map to check on new areas and new waters.

DISCOVER: Once you select a specific waterway from the map or the list of waters, the app and website offer more detailed results, including the type of pollution reported and what has been done by EPA and the states to reduce it. Technical users can follow links to detailed online scien­tific assessment reports.

LEARN: Read simple, non-technical descriptions of each type of water pollutant. These include what the pollutant is, where it comes from, how it can harm the environment, human health, or valuable economic uses of the waterway, and what you can do to help.

FIND: Looking for even more? The related links page connects you to popular water information on beaches, drinking water, fish habitat projects, and more!

Visit How’s My Waterway at:

For questions or comments, contact:

About the author

Project Manager for the ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World Environment Team

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