WQP User Guide

Download Water Quality Exchange (WQX) domain value lists

WATER QUALITY PORTAL USER GUIDE

Introduction

The Water Quality Data Portal (WQP) provides an easy way to access data stored in two large water quality databases. Input parameters on the form include location, site, sampling, and date parameters. The WQP can return site information (locations where samples were collected), or it can return sample results (analytical data of collected samples). Any field in the form left blank will cause a search for all parameters in that field.

Example: If a user selects US and California for the country and state respectively, but leaves the county field blank, data will be returned for all counties in California. All data will also be returned for the fields under SITE PARAMETERS and SAMPLING PARAMETERS.

The same input parameters can be used to make data retrievals using web services. For more information and examples on accessing the web services, see the Web Services Guide.

The Portal website includes both a Basic and Advanced query form, both of which are designed for users who prefer a web interface rather than our web services. The Basic form provides a simplified user interface with minimal query options, while the Advanced form provides a more comprehensive suite of search capabilities. The Advanced form also will automatically generate query URL's that reflect the current selections. The URL's can be copied and pasted for sharing or for use in various programming environments.

Available Databases:

NWIS (USGS) - Water-resources data collected from approximately 1.5 million sites in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. NWIS (USGS) is updated every 24 hours. Data recently added to NWIS (USGS) may not be immediately accessible through the WQP. Data are available for each location dating back to the earliest record available in the database.

WQX (EPA) - Formerly the STORET database, this is a data warehouse for water quality, biological, and physical data used by state environmental agencies, the EPA, other federal agencies, universities, private citizens, and others. WQX (EPA) is updated weekly on Thursday evening. Data recently added to WQX (EPA) may not be immediately accessible through the WQP. Data are available for each location dating back to the earliest record available in the database. Throughout the website, STORET and WQX are used interchangeably to refer to the WQX data warehouse.

Explanation of portal search parameters

The WQP can be searched through three different search options:

  1. Location parameters
  2. Site parameters
  3. Sampling parameters

Location Parameters

Basic location parameters

Country - Use the country window to select one or multiple countries represented in the database. Parentheses after each country represent which database(s) it is represented in.

Web Services Request: Countries can be directly entered into the URL through their FIPS country code. For the United States: #countrycode=US

State - Use the state window to select one or multiple states. Parentheses after each state represent which database(s) it is represented in.

Web Services Request: States can be directly entered into the URL through their FIPS state code. For Iowa and Arizona: #statecode=US%3A04&statecode=US%3A19

County - Use the county window to select one or multiple counties from the selected state(s). Parentheses after each county represent which database(s) it is represented in.

Web Services Request: Counties can be directly entered into the URL through their FIPS county code. For Adams and Clay counties in Iowa: #countycode=US%3A19%3A003&countycode=US%3A19%3A041

Point Location - Enter latitude and longitude (decimal degrees referenced to NAD83), and radial distance (miles) to create a search area. Longitudes in the western hemisphere begin with a negative sign. Many stations outside the continental US do not have latitude and longitude referenced to NAD83 and cannot be found using these parameters.

Example: 20 miles from latitude 46.12 degrees N, longitude 89.15 degrees W would be entered as: * Distance: 20 * Latitude: 46.12 * Longitude: -89.15

Site Type - Site type indicates a natural or human-made feature affecting the hydrologic conditions measured at a site. Use the site type window to select one or multiple site types. Parentheses after each site type represent which database(s) it is represented in. Table 1 includes a definition for each available site type.

Table 1. Available site types and definitions

View Table
Site Type Definition
Aggregate groundwater use (NWIS, STORET) An aggregate groundwater site type is used when it is not possible or practical to describe the specific sites as springs or as any type of well including 'multiple wells', or when water-use information is only available for the aggregate. Aggregate sites that span multiple counties should be coded with 000 as the county code, or an aggregate site can be created for each county.
Aggregate surface-water-use (NWIS, STORET) An aggregate surface-water site type is used when it is not possible or practical to describe the specific sites as diversions, outfalls, or land application sites, or when water-use information is only available for the aggregate. Aggregate sites that span multiple counties should be coded with 000 as the county code, or an aggregate site can be created for each county.
Aggregate water use establishment (NWIS) An aggregate class of water-using establishments or individuals that are associated with a specific geographic location and water-use category, such as all the industrial users located within a county. Identified using the national water-use category code and optionally classified using the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code or North American Classification System (NAICS) Code. Used when specific information needed to create sites for the individual facilities or users is not available, or when it is not desirable to store the site-specific information in the database.
Atmosphere A site established primarily to measure meteorological properties or atmospheric deposition.
Estuary A coastal inlet of the sea or ocean; esp. the mouth of a river, where tide water normally mixes with stream water (modified, Webster). Salinity in estuaries typically ranges from 1 to 25 Practical Salinity Units (psu), as compared oceanic values around 35 psu.
Facility A non-ambient location where environmental measurements are expected to be strongly influenced by current or previous activities of humans.
Glacier Body of land ice that consists of recrystallized snow accumulated on the surface of the ground and moves slowly downslope over a period of years or centuries. Since glacial sites move, the lat-long precision for these sites is usually coarse.
Lake, Reservoir, Impoundment An inland body of standing fresh or saline water that is generally too deep to permit submerged aquatic vegetation to take root across the entire body (cf: wetland). This site type includes an expanded part of a river, a reservoir behind a dam, and a natural or excavated depression containing a water body without surface-water inlet and/or outlet.
Land A location on the surface of the earth that is not normally saturated with water. Land sites are appropriate for sampling vegetation, overland flow of water, or measuring land-surface properties such as temperature. (See also: Wetland).
Not assigned (STEWARDS) A location which lacks Site Type information.
Ocean Site in the open ocean, gulf, or sea. (See also: Estuary).
Spring A location at which the water table intersects the land surface, resulting in a natural flow of groundwater to the surface. Springs may be perennial, intermittent, or ephemeral.
Stream A body of running water moving under gravity flow in a defined channel. The channel may be entirely natural, or altered by engineering practices through straightening, dredging, and (or) lining.
Subsurface A location below the land surface, but not a well, soil hole, or excavation.
Well A hole or shaft constructed in the earth intended to be used to locate, sample, or develop groundwater, oil, gas, or some other subsurface material.
Wetland Land where saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities living in the soil and on its surface (Cowardin, December 1979). Wetlands are found from the tundra to the tropics and on every continent except Antarctica. Wetlands are areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs and similar areas. Wetlands may be forested or unforested, and naturally or artificially created.
Advanced Location Parameters

Additional search options are available in the 'Advanced' query form, including:

Bounding Box - Enter the North and South latitudes and the East and West longitudes (decimal degrees referenced to NAD83) to create a bounding box. Longitudes in the western hemisphere should begin with a negative sign.

Example: * North: 46.12 * East: -89.15 * South: 45.93 * West: -89.68

Organization ID - Identifies a unique business or company. Use the organization ID window to select one or multiple organization IDs. Type at least two characters for a list to appear. For more information on Water Quality Exchange (WQX) Organization IDs, see About WQX (EPA).

Site ID - Identifies a monitoring location by a unique name, number, or code. Use the site ID window to select one or multiple site IDs. Type at least two characters for a list to appear.

When making a web services request: IDs are displayed as: AGENCY-STATION NUMBER. If STATION NUMBER is specified but not AGENCY, "USGS" will be assigned as the default. * For NWIS (USGS) site: #siteid=USGS-301650089215300 * For WQX (EPA) site: #siteid=R10BUNKER-CUA005-5 * For multiple sites: #siteid=IN002-385000086310010&siteid=USSCS-311039092211614&siteid=USEPA-414120087304701

HUC - Identifies the hydrological unit (lists and maps of hydrologic units) up to the cataloging unit level of precision. Use the HUC ID window to select one or multiple HUC IDs. Separate multiple HUC IDs with a semicolon (";"). Select partial HUCs using trailing wildcards ("*").

When making a web services request: * One site: #huc=01010005 * Multiple sites: #huc=01010003%3B01010004 * Partial HUCs: 010801*

FILTER RESULTS

Basic filtering parameters

Data Source - Select one or multiple databases from which the data will be retrieved. All databases are searched by default.

Date Range - Start and end dates to be used individually or together. Dates must be entered in MM-DD-YYYY format.

Sample Media - Identifies the environmental medium where a sample was taken. Use the sample media window to select one or multiple sample media types. Parentheses after each sample medium represent which database(s) it is represented in. Table 2 includes a definition for each sample medium that is available.

Table 2. Available sample media and definitions

View Table
Sample Medium Definition
Air Atmospheric gases.
Biological (STORET) A biological source, including tissue, whole organisms, and whole or partial parts from animals or plants; from the WQX database.
Biological Tissue (NWIS only) Any type of tissue that comprises either whole or parts of insects, fish, or other organisms living in an aquatic environment, animals that may or may not have been collected from a water body, or whole or parts of plants, aquatic or non-aquatic.
Habitat (STORET) The habitat conditions at the monitoring site; physical features of the area surrounding the monitoring location site; from the WQX database.
No media (STEWARDS) Sample medium information not available.
Other None of the other sample media.
Sediment Includes bottom material and suspended sediment sample media. Bottom material is a mixture of mineral and organic matter that compose the top bed deposits (usually the first few inches) underlying a body of water. Suspended sediment is sediment carried in suspension by the turbulent components of the fluid or by the Brownian movement (a law of physics).
Soil A wet or dry substance composed of unconsolidated fine grain rock fragments (minerals) and organic material that has been modified sufficiently by physical, chemical, or biological processes to support terrestrial plant growth.
Tissue (STORET) Any type of tissue that comprises either whole or parts of insects, fish, or other organisms living in an aquatic environment, animals that may or may not have been collected from a water body, or whole or parts of plants, aquatic or non-aquatic; from the WQX database.
Water The physical or chemical composition of the water at the monitoring site.

Characteristic Group - Groups types of environmental measurements. Use the characteristic group window to select one or multiple characteristic groups. Parentheses after each characteristic group represent which database(s) it is represented in. A complete listing of which characteristic matches to which characteristic group is available for download.

View Advanced Filtering Parameters

Minimum sampling activities per site - Returns only sites where at least a minimum number of sampling activities have been reported. Use the minimum number window to select a value; the default is 1.

Minimum result per site - Returns only sites where at least a minimum number of results have been reported. Use the minimum results window to select a value; the default is 1.

Characteristic - Identifies types of environmental measurements. Use the characteristics window to select one or multiple characteristics. Parentheses after each characteristic represent which database(s) it is represented in. The names are derived from the WQX (EPA) Substance Registry System (SRS). USGS uses parameter codes for the same purpose and has associated most parameters to SRS names.

The nomenclature for WQX (EPA) and USGS characteristics are not identical.

Example: The WQX (EPA) lists each dissolved oxygen characteristic, while the USGS classifies dissolved oxygen under "oxygen". Consequently, users interested in retrieving dissolved oxygen data from both databases must select "dissolved oxygen" from WQX (EPA) and "oxygen" from the WQP list of characteristics. Selecting "oxygen" will return dissolved oxygen results from the USGS and all WQX (EPA) results relating to free gaseous oxygen.

Small differences in naming may cause chemically identical characteristics to be listed under different names or names that are formatted differently.

Example: 1,4-dichlorobenzene may be listed as "1,4-dichlorobenzene", "p-dichlorobenzene", or both. A user desiring all 1,4-dichlorobenzene data would need to select both names (and variants thereof) to retrieve the results.

Project ID - Uniquely identifies a data collection project. Use the project ID window to select one or multiple project IDs. Parentheses after each project ID represent which database it is represented in.

Parameter Code - Identifies a characteristic using NWIS (USGS) codes. Use the parameter code window to select one or multiple parameter codes. Specifying a parameter code will limit the query to NWIS (USGS) only.

Biological Parameters Assemblage - Filter by parameters specific to biological organisms.

Assemblage - An association of interacting populations of organisms in a given water body. Example: macroinvertabrates and fish/nekton.

Taxonomic Name - Filter by parameters specific to taxonomic name.

Taxonomic Name - Genus name, species name in binomial nomenclature. Example: for shovelnose sturgeon, Scaphirhyncus platorynchus.

DOWNLOAD THE DATA

A note on Data Type - The data are delivered in a format and nomenclature defined by the WQX-Outbound Schema. Metadata on these formats is displayed in Tables 4-12.

Data Profiles - Select which profile (details on them in Section 'Explanation of dataretrievals' below) to download.

File Format - Choose a file format to download the result set. The available formats are listed and described in Table 3.

Table 3. Available file formats

View Table
File Format Description
Comma-separated Output format is comma-separated columns.
Tab-separated Output format is tab-separated columns.
MS Excel Output format is a .xlsx file compatible with MS Excel 2007 and greater(Excel 2003 and earlier may be able to use a helper program to open the file) . Excel 2007 and later have a limit of 1,048,576 rows. If your download file exceeds this limit, only the first 1,048,576 rows will open.

Deprecated feature: Sort Data - This feature is currently unavailable.

View Advanced Download Parameters

Show Sites on Map - Previews the locations of sites before downloading the data, up to 250,000 sites. Sites are color coded by data source.

The example below displays part of the South Skunk watershed, with NWIS (USGS), WQX (EPA), and STEWARDS (ARS) sites.

Result of clicking "Show sites on map" button

For additional information about the sites, click on individual sites. Use the box tool below the zoom buttons to select multiple sites.

Additional information about sites

The Water Quality Portal only provides discrete monitoring data. To see USGS long-term flow monitoring sites, click the layer picker on the upper right and toggle on "NWIS (USGS) Stream Gages". These gage locations are based on the GAGES-II dataset, which only runs through 2009. Some gages are now discontinued and other gage data may be more accurate.

NWIS (USGS) Stream Gages

Explanation of data retrievals

Data Profiles

There are hundreds of different data elements in the WQX 3.0 schema, which would make downloading all of them in a single file challenging to use and time-consuming to download. To make it easier for users to obtain only the subset of data elements in which they are interested, the data are grouped according to the type of data they describe, such as physical/chemical results data and metadata. These data elements grouped together for download are called Profiles. Some Profiles contain only metadata (e.g. site data or project data), while some contain results-level data, such as the ‘Sample Results’ Profiles. The results-level Profiles were designed to include the core data and metadata required for many common use cases such that additional Profiles are not required; however, each Profile contains a core set of data elements that enable joining individual tables together if needed. Note: For users who are interested in obtaining every bit of data for a particular site or group of sites, it may be necessary to download multiple Profiles.

Water monitoring data is delivered in a format and nomenclature defined by the WQX-Outbound Schema.

Under "DOWNLOAD DATA", the data can be retrieved for the following profiles:

*Available only in the Advanced form

The tables below list the metadata for each retrieval type.

Table 4. "Site Data Only" Result Retrieval Metadata

View Table
Site Retrieval Element Definition
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
MonitoringLocationName The designator specified by the sampling organization for the site at which sampling or other activities are conducted.
MonitoringLocationTypeName The descriptive name for a type of monitoring location.
MonitoringLocationDescriptionText Text description of the monitoring location.
HUCEightDigitCode The 8 digit federal code used to identify the hydrologic unit of the monitoring location to the cataloging unit level of precision.
DrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureValue* The drainage basin of a lake, stream, wetland, or estuary site. Measure value is given in the units stored in DrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
DrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ContributingDrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureValue* The contributing drainage area of a lake, stream, wetland, or estuary site. Measure value is given in the units stored in ContributingDrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ContributingDrainageAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
LatitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian north or south of the equator.
LongitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian east or west of the prime meridian.
SourceMapScaleNumeric The number that represents the proportional distance on the ground for one unit of measure on the map or photo.
HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureValue* The horizontal measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates." Measure value is given in the units stored in HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
HorizontalCollecitonMethodName The name that identifies the method used to determine the latitude and longitude coordinates for a point on the earth.
HorizontalCoordinateReferenceSystemDatumName The name that describes the reference datum used in determining latitude and longitude coordinates.
VerticalMeasure/MeasureValue The measure of elevation (i.e., the altitude), above or below a reference datum. Measure value is given in the units stored in VerticalMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
VerticalMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
VerticalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureValue* The vertical measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates. Measure value is given in the units stored in VerticalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
VerticalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
VerticalCollectionMethodName The name that identifies the method used to collect the vertical measure (i.e. the altitude) of a reference point.
VerticalCoordinateReferenceSystemDatumName The name of the reference datum used to determine the vertical measure (i.e., the altitude).
CountryCode A code designator used to identify a primary geopolitical unit of the world.
StateCode A code designator used to identify a principal administrative subdivision of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.
CountyCode A code designator used to identify a U.S. county or county equivalent.
AquiferName* Name of the aquifer in which the well is completed.
FormationTypeText* Name of the primary formation or soils unit, in which the well is completed.
AquiferTypeName* The type of aquifer, such as confined or unconfined.
ConstructionDateText* Date of construction when well was completed. May be year only.
WellDepthMeasure/MeasureValue* Depth below land surface datum (LSD) to the bottom of the hole on completion of drilling. Measure value is given in the units stored in WellDepthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
WellDepthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
WellHoleDepthMeasure/MeasureValue* Depth below land surface datum (LSD) to the bottom of the hole on completion of drilling. Measure value is given in the units stored in WellHoleDepthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
WellHoleDepthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode* The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ProviderName The name of the database that provided the data to the Water Quality portal (E.G. WQX, NWIS, STEWARDS).

*Element is only in NWIS (USGS).

Table 5. "Project Data" Result Retrieval Metadata

Contains information about projects to monitor water quality. Contains project IDs, to allow joins with other tables.

View Table
Project Retrieval Element Definition
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization.
ProjectName The name assigned by the Organization (project leader or principal investigator) to the project.
ProjectDescriptionText Project description, which may include a description of the project purpose, summary of the objectives, or brief summary of the results of the project.
SamplingDesignTypeCode A code used to identify the type of sampling design employed for this project to ensure that sampling activities can support project objectives.
QAPPApprovedIndicator Indicates whether a Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP) has been approved for the submitted project.
QAPPApprovalAgencyName An outside approval authority identifier for the QAPP (e.g. EPA or State Organization).
ProjectFileUrl A link to follow to access the files associated with the project.
ProjectMonitorLocationWeightingURL A URL to get associated ProjectMonitoringLocationWeighting data. Only populated if there is Project Monitoring Location Weighting data.

Table 6. "Project Monitoring Location Weighting" Result Retrieval Metadata

Contains information about locations where water quality monitoring was conducted. Includes information needed to display the locations in GIS software (latitude, longitude). Contains monitoring location IDs to allow joins with other tables.

View Table
Project Monitoring Location Element Definition
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
MeasureValue The recorded dimension, capacity, quality, or amount of something ascertained by measuring or observing.
MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
StatisticalStratumText Identifies the statistical stratum applied to this site.
LocationCategoryName Free text describing a category of naturally similar site types, such as high-gradient.
LocationStatusName Indicates whether this site is active and available for sampling.
ReferenceLocationTypeCode Identifies whether this site is a reference or control site by specifying the reference location type.
ReferenceLocationStartDate The calendar date on which the monitoring location started being used as a reference site.
ReferenceLocationEndDate The calendar date on which the monitoring location stopped being used as a reference site.
ResourceSubjectText A name given to the resource that created or defined the reference location.
ResourceCreatorName An entity primarily responible for making the content of the resource that created or defined the reference location.
ResourceSubjectText A topic of the content of the resource that created or defined the reference location.
ResourcePublisherName An entity responsible for making the resource available that created or defined the reference location.
ResourceDate A date of an event in the lifecycle of the resource that created or defined the reference location.
ResourceIdentifier An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
CommentText General comments about the project monitoring location weighting.

Table 7. "Sample Results (Physical/Chemical)" Result Retrieval Metadata

Contains a comprehensive set of WQX 3.0 data elements to determine the physical and/or chemical condition of water. Contains some biological data elements necessary to determine toxicity. Contains monitoring location IDs, activity IDs, and project IDs to allow joins with other tables.

View Table
Result Retrieval Element Definition
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
ActivityIdentifier Designator that uniquely identifies an activity within an organization.
ActivityTypeCode The text describing the type of activity.
ActivityMediaName Name or code indicating the environmental medium where the sample was taken.
ActivityMediaSubdivisionName Name or code indicating the environmental matrix as a subdivision of the sample media.
ActivityStartDate The calendar date on which the field activity is started.
ActivityStartTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity began, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityStartTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityEndDate The calendar date when the field activity is completed.
ActivityEndTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity ended, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityEndTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityDepthAltitudeReferencePointText The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of an activity.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the upper vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the lower vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization.
ActivityConductingOrganizationText A name of the Organization conducting an activity.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
ActivityCommentText General comments concerning the activity.
SampleAquifer* A code that designates the aquifer associated with groundwater samples.
HydrologicCondition* Hydrologic condition is the hydrologic condition that is represented by the sample collected (i.e. ? normal, falling, rising, peak stage).
HydrologicEvent* A hydrologic event that is represented by the sample collected (i.e. - storm, drought, snowmelt).
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
SampleCollectionEquipmentName The name for the equipment used in collecting the sample.
ResultDetectionConditionText The textual descriptor of a result.
CharacteristicName The object, property, or substance which is evaluated or enumerated by either a direct field measurement, a direct field observation, or by laboratory analysis of material collected in the field.
ResultSampleFractionText The text name of the portion of the sample associated with results obtained from a physically-partitioned sample.
ResultMeasureValue The reportable measure of the result for the chemical, microbiological or other characteristic being analyzed. Measure value is given in the units stored in ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
MeasureQualifierCode A code used to identify any qualifying issues that affect the results.
ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ResultStatusIdentifier Indicates the acceptability of the result with respect to QA/QC criteria.
StatisticalBaseCode The code for the method used to calculate derived results.
ResultValueTypeName A name that qualifies the process which was used in the determination of the result value (e.g., actual, estimated, calculated).
ResultWeightBasisText The name that represents the form of the sample or portion of the sample which is associated with the result value (e.g., wet weight, dry weight, ash-free dry weight).
ResultTimeBasisText The period of time (in days) over which a measurement was made. For example, BOD can be measured as 5 day or 20 day BOD.
ResultTemperatureBasisText The name that represents the controlled temperature at which the sample was maintained during analysis, e.g. 25 deg BOD analysis.
ResultParticleSizeBasisText User defined free text describing the particle size class for which the associated result is defined.
PrecisionValue A measure of mutual agreement among individual measurements of the same property usually under prescribed similar conditions.
ResultCommentText Free text with general comments concerning the result.
USGSPCode* 5-digit number used in the US Geological Survey computerized data system, National Water Information System (NWIS), to uniquely identify a specific constituent.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue† A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which a result occurred.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode† The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ResultDepthAltitudeReferencePointText† The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of a result.
SubjectTaxonomicName The name of the organism from which a tissue sample was taken.
SampleTissueAnatomyName* The name of the anatomy from which a tissue sample was taken.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
MethodDescriptionText* A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
LaboratoryName The name of Lab responsible for the result.
AnalysisStartDate The calendar date on which the analysis began.
ResultLaboratoryCommentText Remarks which further describe the laboratory procedures which produced the result.
DetectionQuantitationLimitTypeName Text describing the type of detection or quantitation level used in the analysis of a characteristic.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureValue Constituent concentration that, when processed through the complete method, produces a signal that is statistically different from a blank. Measure value is given in the units stored in DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
PreparationStartDate The calendar date when the preparation/extraction of the sample for analysis began.
DataProvider The source system that provided data to the Water Quality Portal (NWIS, WQX, STEWARDS, etc).

*Element is only in NWIS (USGS).

†Element is only in WQX (EPA).

Table 8. "Sample Results (Biological)" Result Retrieval Metadata

Contains a comprehensive set of WQX 3.0 data elements to determine the biological condition of water. Contains monitoring location IDs, activity IDs, and project IDs to allow joins with other tables. Does not contain data elements necessary to determine toxicity; see instead “Full Physical/Chemical Profile”.

View Table
Biological Result Retrieval Element Definition
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization.
ActivityIdentifier Designator that uniquely identifies an activity within an organization.
ActivityTypeCode The text describing the type of activity.
ActivityMediaName Name or code indicating the environmental medium where the sample was taken.
ActivityMediaSubdivisionName Name or code indicating the environmental matrix as a subdivision of the sample media.
ActivityStartDate The calendar date on which the field activity is started.
ActivityStartTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity began, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityStartTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityEndDate The calendar date when the field activity is completed.
ActivityEndTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity ended, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityEndTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityRelativeDepthName The name that indicates the approximate location within the water column at which the activity occurred.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the upper vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the lower vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityDepthAltitudeReferencePointText The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of an activity.
ActivityConductingOrganizationText A name of the Organization conducting an activity.
ActivityLocation/LatitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian north or south of the equator of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/LongitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian east or west of the prime meridian of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/SourceMapScaleNumeric The number that represents the proportional distance on the ground for one unit of measure on the map or photo of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureValue The horizontal measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The units of the horizontal measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalCollectionMethodName The name that identifies the method used to determine the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalCoordinateReferenceSystemDatumName The name that describes the reference datum used in determining of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
AssemblageSampledName An association of interacting populations of organisms in a given waterbody.
CollectionDuration/MeasureValue The length of time a collection procedure or protocol was performed (e.g. total energized time for electrofishing, or total time kick net used).
CollectionDuration/MeasureUnitCode The units for the length of time a collection procedure or protocol was performed.
SamplingComponentName Single entity within a sampling frame at which a collection procedure or protocol was performed.
SamplingComponentPlaceInSeriesNumeric The order in which a component within the sampling frame was visited in relation to other components.
ReachLengthMeasure/MeasureValue A measure of the water body length distance in which the procedure or protocol was performed.
ReachLengthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the Reach Length.
ReachWidthMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the reach width during collection procedures.
ReachWidthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the Reach Width.
PassCount The number of passes through the water from which the sample was collected.
NetTypeName The text describing the type of net.
NetSurfaceAreaMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the effective surface area of the net used during biological monitoring sample collection.
NetSurfaceAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for net surface area.
NetMeshSizeMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the mesh size of the net used during biological monitoring sample collection.
NetMeshSizeMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for net mesh size.
BoatSpeedMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the boat speed during biological monitoring sample collection.
BoatSpeedMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for boat speed.
CurrentSpeedMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the current during biological monitoring sample collection.
CurrentSpeedMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for current speed.
ToxicityTestType Identifies the type of toxicity as either Acute or Chronic.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodDescriptionText A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
SampleCollectionEquipmentName The name for the equipment used in collecting the sample.
SampleCollectionMethod/SampleCollectionEquipmentCommentText Free text with general comments further describing the sample collection equipment.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodDescriptionText A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
SampleContainerTypeName The text describing the sample container type.
SampleContainerColorName The text describing the sample container color.
ChemicalPreservativeUsedName Information describing the chemical means to preserve the sample.
ThermalPreservativeUsedName Information describing the temperature means used to preserve the sample.
SampleTransportStorageDescription The text describing sample handling and transport procedures used.
DataLoggerLine The unique line identifier from a data logger result text file, normally a date/time format but could be any user defined name, e.g. "surface", "midwinter", and or "bottom".)
ResultDetectionConditionText The textual descriptor of a result.
CharacteristicName The object, property, or substance which is evaluated or enumerated by either a direct field measurement, a direct field observation, or by laboratory analysis of material collected in the field.
MethodSpecificationName Identifies the chemical speciation in which the measured result is expressed.
ResultSampleFractionText The text name of the portion of the sample associated with results obtained from a physically-partitioned sample.
ResultMeasureValue The reportable measure of the result for the chemical, microbiological or other characteristic being analyzed. Measure value is given in the units stored in ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
MeasureQualifierCode A code used to identify any qualifying issues that affect the results.
ResultStatusIdentifier Indicates the acceptability of the result with respect to QA/QC criteria.
StatisticalBaseCode The code for the method used to calculate derived results.
ResultValueTypeName A name that qualifies the process which was used in the determination of the result value (e.g., actual, estimated, calculated).
ResultWeightBasisText The name that represents the form of the sample or portion of the sample which is associated with the result value (e.g., wet weight, dry weight, ash-free dry weight).
ResultTimeBasisText The period of time (in days) over which a measurement was made. For example, BOD can be measured as 5 day or 20 day BOD.
ResultTemperatureBasisText The name that represents the controlled temperature at which the sample was maintained during analysis, e.g. 25 deg BOD analysis.
ResultParticleSizeBasisText User defined free text describing the particle size class for which the associated result is defined.
PrecisionValue A measure of mutual agreement among individual measurements of the same property usually under prescribed similar conditions.
DataQuality/BiasValue The systematic or persistent distortion of a measurement process which causes error in one direction.
ConfidenceIntervalValue A range of values constructed so that this range has a specified probability of including the true population mean.
UpperConfidenceLimitValue Value of the upper end of the confidence interval.
LowerConfidenceLimitValue Value of the lower end of the confidence interval.
ResultCommentText Free text with general comments concerning the result.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which a result occurred.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ResultDepthAltitudeReferencePointText The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of a result.
ResultSamplingPointName Single point name within a sampling frame or protocol that is associated with the reported result.
BiologicalIntentName The primary reason the biological monitoring has occurred.
BiologicalIndividualIdentifier A number uniquely identifying the individual in accordance with the total number of individuals reported by the user.
SubjectTaxonomicName The name of the organism from which a tissue sample was taken.
UnidentifiedSpeciesIdentifier A number or name assigned as a part of a taxonomic identification. Used with a valid genus name to indicate a unique species has been observed but not taxonomically identified.
SampleTissueAnatomyName* The name of the anatomy from which a tissue sample was taken.
GroupSummaryCountWeight/MeasureValue Captures the total count or total sample weight for a Group Summary, if BiologicalIntentName = "Group Summary".
GroupSummaryCountWeight/MeasureUnitCode Units for Group Summary CountWeight, if BiologicalIntentName = "Group Summary".
CellFormName The name of the cell form for phytoplankton organisms expressed as a result. A single phytoplankton species may have a result value for any or all of these cell forms.
CellShapeName The cell shape of the phytoplankton organism.
HabitName The position that the characteristic occupies in a food chain- May be semicolon delimited.
VoltismName The number of broods or generations of the characteristic in a year.
TaxonomicPollutionTolerance For entries representing taxa, a code representing the ability of the reported taxon to tolerate pollution.
TaxonomicPollutionToleranceScaleText Provides a description of the scale used for the taxonomic pollution tolerance value.
TrophicLevelName For entries representing taxa, a code representing the trophic level with which the reported taxon is typically assigned.
FunctionalFeedingGroupName FunctionalFeedingGroupName.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceTitleName The name of the source that created or defined the Taxonomic Details.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceCreatorName An entity primarily responible for making the content of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceSubjectText A topic of the content of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourcePublisherName An entity responsible for making the resource available.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceDate A date of an event in the lifecycle of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceIdentifier An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
MethodDescriptionText* A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
LaboratoryName The name of Lab responsible for the result.
AnalysisStartDate The calendar date on which the analysis began.
ResultLaboratoryCommentCode Code which maps to remarks which further describe the laboratory procedures which produced the result.
ResultLaboratoryCommentText Remarks which further describe the laboratory procedures which produced the result.
DetectionQuantitationLimitTypeName Text describing the type of detection or quantitation level used in the analysis of a characteristic.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureValue Constituent concentration that, when processed through the complete method, produces a signal that is statistically different from a blank. Measure value is given in the units stored in DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
LaboratoryAccreditationIndicator Indicates whether the laboratory is accredited.
LaboratoryAccreditationAuthorityName An outside accreditation authority identifier.
TaxonomistAccreditationIndicator Indicates whether the taxonomist is accredited.
TaxonomistAccreditationAuthorityName An outside accreditation authority identifier for the taxonomist.
PreparationStartDate The calendar date when the preparation/extraction of the sample for analysis began.
ProviderName The source system that provided data to the Water Quality Portal (NWIS, WQX, STEWARDS, etc).

Table 9. "Sample Results (Narrow)" Result Retrieval Metadata

View Table

This data profile contains minimal data from parts of the WQX data model that are not in the "Result" section of WQX. Activity data can be linked to the activityID through ActivityID, and ResultIdentifier can be used to link to ResultDetectionQuantitationLimit data.

Narrow data profile Result Retrieval Element Description
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
ActivityIdentifier Designator that uniquely identifies an activity within an organization.
ActivityStartDate The calendar date on which the field activity is started.
ActivityStartTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity began, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityStartTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
ResultIdentifier The Identifier that links a result record to a Result Detection Quantitation Limit record.
DataLoggerLine The unique line identifier from a data logger result text file, normally a date/time format but could be any user defined name, e.g. "surface", "midwinter", and or "bottom").
ResultDetectionConditionText The textual descriptor of a result.
MethodSpecificationName Identifies the chemical speciation in which the measured result is expressed.
CharacteristicName The object, property, or substance which is evaluated or enumerated by either a direct field measurement, a direct field observation, or by laboratory analysis of material collected in the field.
ResultSampleFractionText The text name of the portion of the sample associated with results obtained from a physically-partitioned sample.
ResultMeasureValue The reportable measure of the result for the chemical, microbiological or other characteristic being analyzed. Measure value is given in the units stored in ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ResultMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
MeasureQualifierCode A code used to identify any qualifying issues that affect the results.
ResultStatusIdentifier Indicates the acceptability of the result with respect to QA/QC criteria.
StatisticalBaseCode The code for the method used to calculate derived results.
ResultValueTypeName A name that qualifies the process which was used in the determination of the result value (e.g., actual, estimated, calculated).
ResultWeightBasisText The name that represents the form of the sample or portion of the sample which is associated with the result value (e.g., wet weight, dry weight, ash-free dry weight).
ResultTimeBasisText The period of time (in days) over which a measurement was made. For example, BOD can be measured as 5 day or 20 day BOD.
ResultTemperatureBasisText The name that represents the controlled temperature at which the sample was maintained during analysis, e.g. 25 deg BOD analysis.
ResultParticleSizeBasisText User defined free text describing the particle size class for which the associated result is defined.
PrecisionValue A measure of mutual agreement among individual measurements of the same property usually under prescribed similar conditions.
DataQuality/BiasValue The systematic or persistent distortion of a measurement process which causes error in one direction.
ConfidenceIntervalValue A range of values constructed so that this range has a specified probability of including the true population mean.
UpperConfidenceLimitValue Value of the upper end of the confidence interval.
LowerConfidenceLimitValue Value of the lower end of the confidence interval.
ResultCommentText Free text with general comments concerning the result.
USGSPCode USGS-Specific, single point name within a sampling frame or protocol that is associated with the reported result.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which a result occurred.
ResultDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ResultDepthAltitudeReferencePointText The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of a result.
ResultSamplingPointName Single point name within a sampling frame or protocol that is associated with the reported result.
BiologicalIntentName The primary reason the biological monitoring has occurred.
BiologicalIndividualIdentifier A number uniquely identifying the individual in accordance with the total number of individuals reported by the user.
SubjectTaxonomicName The name of the organism from which a tissue sample was taken.
UnidentifiedSpeciesIdentifier A number or name assigned as a part of a taxonomic identification. Used with a valid genus name to indicate a unique species has been observed but not taxonomically identified.
SampleTissueAnatomyName The name of the anatomy from which a tissue sample was taken.
GroupSummaryCountWeight/MeasureValue Captures the total count or total sample weight for a Group Summary, if BiologicalIntentName = "Group Summary".
GroupSummaryCountWeight/MeasureUnitCode Units for Group Summary CountWeight, if BiologicalIntentName = "Group Summary".
CellFormName The name of the cell form for phytoplankton organisms expressed as a result. A single phytoplankton species may have a result value for any or all of these cell forms.
CellShapeName The cell shape of the phytoplankton organism.
HabitName The position that the characteristic occupies in a food chain- May be semicolon delimited.
VoltismName The number of broods or generations of the characteristic in a year.
TaxonomicPollutionTolerance For entries representing taxa, a code representing the ability of the reported taxon to tolerate pollution.
TaxonomicPollutionToleranceScaleText Provides a description of the scale used for the taxonomic pollution tolerance value.
TrophicLevelName For entries representing taxa, a code representing the trophic level with which the reported taxon is typically assigned.
FunctionalFeedingGroupName FunctionalFeedingGroupName.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceTitleName The name of the source that created or defined the Taxonomic Details.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceCreatorName An entity primarily responible for making the content of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceSubjectText A topic of the content of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourcePublisherName An entity responsible for making the resource available.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceDate A date of an event in the lifecycle of the resource.
TaxonomicDetailsCitation/ResourceIdentifier An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
FrequencyClassInformationUrl (this column is not yet populated) A WQP url to access one or more sets of frequency class Information for a single result, linked by ResultIdentifier. Frequency class information is a definition of a subgroup of biological communities by life stage, physical attribute, or abnormality to support frequency class studies.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodUrl A link to an outside repository with additional data about the method. This is primarily NEMI at this time.
ResultAnalyticalMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
MethodDescriptionText A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
LaboratoryName The name of Lab responsible for the result.
AnalysisStartDate The calendar date on which the analysis began.
AnalysisStartTime/Time The local time when the analysis began.
AnalysisStartTime/TimeZoneCode The relative time zone when the analysis began.
AnalysisEndDate The calendar date on which the analysis was finished.
AnalysisEndTime/Time The local time when the analysis was finished.
AnalysisEndTime/TimeZoneCode The relative time zone when the analysis was finished.
ResultLaboratoryCommentCode Code which maps to remarks which further describe the laboratory procedures which produced the result.
ResultLaboratoryCommentText Remarks which further describe the laboratory procedures which produced the result.
ResultDetectionQuantitationLimitUrl A URL to access data that describes one or more detection or quantitation limits determined in a laboratory, linked to the result dataset by Result ID.
LaboratoryAccreditationIndicator Indicates whether the laboratory is accredited.
LaboratoryAccreditationAuthorityName An outside accreditation authority identifier.
TaxonomistAccreditationIndicator Indicates whether the taxonomist is accredited.
TaxonomistAccreditationAuthorityName An outside accreditation authority identifier for the taxonomist.
LabSamplePreparationUrl (this column is not yet populated) A WQP url to access one or more Lab Sample Preparation data. Describes Lab Sample Preparation procedures which may alter the original state of the Sample and produce Lab subsamples. These Lab Subsamples are analyzed and reported by the Lab as Sample results.
ProviderName The source system that provided data to the Water Quality Portal (NWIS, WQX, STEWARDS, etc).

Table 10. "Sampling Activity" Result Retrieval Metadata

Contains information about water quality monitoring activities. Contains activity IDs, to allow joins with other tables.

View Table
Activity Retrieval Element Description
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization.
ActivityIdentifier Designator that uniquely identifies an activity within an organization.
ActivityTypeCode The text describing the type of activity.
ActivityMediaName Name or code indicating the environmental medium where the sample was taken.
ActivityMediaSubdivisionName Name or code indicating the environmental matrix as a subdivision of the sample media.
ActivityStartDate The calendar date on which the field activity is started.
ActivityStartTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity began, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityStartTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityEndDate The calendar date when the field activity is completed.
ActivityEndTime/Time The time of day that is reported when the field activity ended, based on a 24-hour timescale.
ActivityEndTime/TimeZoneCode The time zone for which the time of day is reported. Any of the longitudinal divisions of the earth's surface in which a standard time is kept.
ActivityRelativeDepthName The name that indicates the approximate location within the water column at which the activity occurred.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the vertical location (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the upper vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityTopDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the lower vertical location of a vertical location range (measured from a reference point) at which an activity occurred. Measure value is given in the units stored in ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
ActivityBottomDepthHeightMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ActivityDepthAltitudeReferencePointText The reference used to indicate the datum or reference used to establish the depth/altitude of an activity.
ActivityConductingOrganizationText A name of the Organization conducting an activity.
ActivityLocation/LatitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian north or south of the equator of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/LongitudeMeasure The measure of the angular distance on a meridian east or west of the prime meridian of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/SourceMapScaleNumeric The number that represents the proportional distance on the ground for one unit of measure on the map or photo of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureValue The horizontal measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalAccuracyMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The units of the horizontal measure of the relative accuracy of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalCollectionMethodName The name that identifies the method used to determine the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
ActivityLocation/HorizontalCoordinateReferenceSystemDatumName The name that describes the reference datum used in determining of the latitude and longitude coordinates of the of the actual monitoring site, if it is different from that described for in the formal station description.
AssemblageSampledName An association of interacting populations of organisms in a given waterbody.
CollectionDuration/MeasureValue The length of time a collection procedure or protocol was performed (e.g. total energized time for electrofishing, or total time kick net used).
CollectionDuration/MeasureUnitCode The units for the length of time a collection procedure or protocol was performed.
SamplingComponentName Single entity within a sampling frame at which a collection procedure or protocol was performed.
SamplingComponentPlaceInSeriesNumeric The order in which a component within the sampling frame was visited in relation to other components.
ReachLengthMeasure/MeasureValue A measure of the water body length distance in which the procedure or protocol was performed.
ReachLengthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the Reach Length.
ReachWidthMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the reach width during collection procedures.
ReachWidthMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the Reach Width.
PassCount The number of passes through the water from which the sample was collected.
NetTypeName The text describing the type of net.
NetSurfaceAreaMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the effective surface area of the net used during biological monitoring sample collection.
NetSurfaceAreaMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for net surface area.
NetMeshSizeMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the mesh size of the net used during biological monitoring sample collection.
NetMeshSizeMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for net mesh size.
BoatSpeedMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the boat speed during biological monitoring sample collection.
BoatSpeedMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for boat speed.
CurrentSpeedMeasure/MeasureValue A measurement of the current during biological monitoring sample collection.
CurrentSpeedMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for current speed.
ToxicityTestType Identifies the type of toxicity as either Acute or Chronic.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
SampleCollectionMethod/MethodDescriptionText A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
SampleCollectionEquipmentName The name for the equipment used in collecting the sample.
SampleCollectionMethod/SampleCollectionEquipmentCommentText Free text with general comments further describing the sample collection equipment.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodIdentifier The identification number or code assigned by the method publisher.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the identifier.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodName The title that appears on the method from the method publisher.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodQualifierTypeName Identifier of type of method that identifies it as reference, equivalent, or other.
SamplePreparationMethod/MethodDescriptionText A brief summary that provides general information about the method.
SampleContainerTypeName The text describing the sample container type.
SampleContainerColorName The text describing the sample container color.
ChemicalPreservativeUsedName Information describing the chemical means to preserve the sample.
ThermalPreservativeUsedName Information describing the temperature means used to preserve the sample.
SampleTransportStorageDescription The text describing sample handling and transport procedures used.
DataLoggerLine The unique line identifier from a data logger result text file, normally a date/time format but could be any user defined name, e.g. "surface", "midwinter", and or "bottom").
ResultDetectionConditionText The textual descriptor of a result.
CharacteristicName The object, property, or substance which is evaluated or enumerated by either a direct field measurement, a direct field observation, or by laboratory analysis of material collected in the field.
MethodSpecificationName Identifies the chemical speciation in which the measured result is expressed.

Table 11. "Sampling Activity Metrics" Result Retrieval Metadata

View Table
Activity Metric Retrieval Element Description
OrganizationIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a unique business establishment within a context.
OrganizationFormalName The legal designator (i.e. formal name) of an organization.
MonitoringLocationIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the monitoring location.
ProjectIdentifier A designator used to uniquely identify a data collection project within a context of an organization. Multiple projects may be concatenated together.
ActivityIdentifier Designator that uniquely identifies an activity within an organization.
ActivityMetricType/MetricTypeIdentifier A designator used to describe the unique name, number, or code assigned to identify the metric (Organization specific).
ActivityMetricType/MetricTypeIdentifierContext Identifies the source or data system that created or defined the metric.
ActivityMetricType/MetricTypeName Name of the activity metric type.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourceTitleName Citation- A name given to the resource.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourceCreatorName Citation- An entity primarily responible for making the content of the resource.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourceSubjectText Citation- A topic of the content of the resource.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourcePublisherName Citation- An entity responsible for making the resource available.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourceDate Citation- A date of an event in the lifecycle of the resource.
MetricTypeCitation/ResourceIdentifier Citation- An unambiguous reference to the resource within a given context.
MetricTypeCitation/MetricTypeScaleText Citation- Provides a description of the scale used for the activity metric.
MetricTypeCitation/FormulaDescriptionText Citation- Provides a description of the formula used to calculate the activity metric score.
MetricValueMeasure/MeasureValue The recorded dimension, capacity, quality, or amount of something ascertained by measuring or observing.
MetricValueMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
MetricValueMeasure/MetricScoreNumeric Provides the scaled or calculated score for the activity metric.
MetricValueMeasure/MetricCommentText Free text with general comments concerning the metric.
MetricValueMeasure/IndexIdentifier A unique designator used to identify a unique index record that the activity metric is associated with.

Table 12. "Result Detection Quantitation Limit Data" Result Retrieval Metadata

View Table

Constituent concentration that, when processed through the complete method, produces a signal that is statistically different from a blank. There can be multiple Result Detection Quantitation limits per result, and they can be linked to results retrieved using the "narrow" result profile using ResultIdentifier.

Result Detection Quantitation Limit Element Description
DetectionQuantitationLimitTypeName Text describing the type of detection or quantitation level used in the analysis of a characteristic.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureValue Constituent concentration that, when processed through the complete method, produces a signal that is statistically different from a blank. Measure value is given in the units stored in DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode.
DetectionQuantitationLimitMeasure/MeasureUnitCode The code that represents the unit for measuring the item.
ResultIdentifier The Identifier that links a result record to a Result Detection Quantitation Limit record.

Download Water Quality Exchange allowable value lists and definitions

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Click the links below to download the domain lists as zipped files in Comma Separated Values (.csv) format

All - The entire domain lists

All Domains - All domain value lists as separate files in a single download

Individual Domain Values Lists:

Cite the Water Quality Portal

General Portal citations should use the following:

  • Water Quality Portal. Washington (DC): National Water Quality Monitoring Council, United States Geological Survey (USGS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); 2021. https://doi.org/10.5066/P9QRKUVJ.

Citations for specific datasets should use this format:

  • National Water Quality Monitoring Council, YYYY, Water Quality Portal, accessed mm, dd, yyyy, hyperlink_for_query, https://doi.org/10.5066/P9QRKUVJ.