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AWQMS Portals & Resources

CDSN's Ambient Water Quality Management System



AWQMS Login Portals --



All users wishing to view data for multiple data providers, or a data provider different than themselves MUST use the Public Portal Login.

CDSN data from any and all organizations that is being shared by its owners is available to view, query, chart, graph, and download via the Public Login. This portal allows for read-only use of data in the CDSN AWQMS database. Public cannot create new monitoring locations, add or modify any data.
USERNAME: cdsnpublic
PASSWORD: cdsnpublic


This portal is for interacting (read/write/delete) with ONLY your organization's data.

Using your CDSN-issued Username and Password you will be able to upload, edit, download, chart, graph, and query your own data. Beginning Spring 2013, you will not be able to view other entities'' shared data UNLESS you are logged in via the PUBLIC username & password.
USERNAME: [organization ID]
PASSWORD: [organization password]


Those wishing to practice uploading data without fear of permanently placing data into AWQMS, can do so using the AWQMS demo portal.
This portal allows for PRACTICE creation and editing of projects, monitoring locations and practice of activities/results data uploading. This mode is FOR DEMONSTRATION ONLY. Anything you do in demonstration mode (logged in as demo/demo) will not actually permanently change the AWQMS database. Anything changes or uploads you practice making will be temporary and will go away upon termination of the session. You will not be able to view other organizations' data when you are logged in with your Org ID and Password. To view all of the public data in the CDSN AWQMS database, you must use the public login.
While the Demo Portal allows users to conduct trials, training, or try something in an environment that won't affect real data, it may not be identical to the look and feel of CDSN's custom version of AWQMS. Import configurations will not be identical to the CDSN versions matching our upload templates. However, the process steps will be essentially the same. After logging in, the home page allows you to reset the data in the environment and also provides links to simulated data files you can use to try out the import features of AWQMS. Click the link below to get started.

What is AWQMS?


AWQMS stands for "Ambient Water Quality Management System".

AWQMS is a comprehensive, web-based water quality data management system that allows users to effectively consolidate, validate, analyze, assess, and share all kinds of water quality data including water, air, biological, sediment and other data. The CDSN AWQMS data management system is hosted and maintained for our collaborators and public by Gold Systems, developer of EPA’s Water Quality Exchange (WQX), and EPA’s WQX Web data submission utility.
AWQMS is considered a data management system, because not only is it a WQX-compatible database, it also has built in analysis tools for managing surface water, ground water, biological and other types of environmental data -- ANYONE can search for monitoring locations, exceedances, and download data stored in AWQMS from the CDSN Google-Map and advanced queries, reports, charts and graphs can be created along with extensive data downloads from the public AWQMS portal. See the "Become a New Data Organization" and "Tutorials/Manuals" tabs for more information.
AWQMS is being used not just by over 65 different data sharing organizations within CDSN, but also by other States, Tribes, and individual organizations nationally. What this means, is that when one of AWQMS users wishes to fund a new functionality, all of the AWQMS users automatically get that functionality in the next AWQMS upgrade. New AWQMS versions are deployed in the "cloud" by our programmers, so you are always using the latest version of AWQMS and the latest features. AS of November, 2014 CDSN AWQMS contained over 11,000 monitoring locations and 2.3 Million data results for our data partners. CDSN has saved its data contributors over a million dollars in hosting fees (which would not include the companion GIS utility or Exceedance Mapper) if these organizations were individually paying for just AWQMS individually. The value of collaboration to Coloradoans cannot be understated.

AWQMS Data Input and QA/QC Features Include:

  • Import data from many file layouts and by mapping your lab output to CDSN's data formatting template, with matching import configurations. Import configurations remember any translations that are customized for your needs.
  • Enter field data quickly using configurable Rapid Data Entry pages
  • Make data corrections using detailed data management pages
  • Verify data against WQX standards and resolve issues
  • Validate results against user-provided thresholds and check for data consistency
  • Search, sort, and filter your data
  • Plan your trips; including locations, analytes, and bottles (requires additional configuration)


Data Analysis, Reporting, Graphing, and Charting Features Include:

  • Graph your data: Line, Bar, Combined Line & Bar, Box and Whiskers, Bi-Variate Scatter Plot w/Regression Line, Cumulative Frequency w/Histogram, Index Over Time, and more!
  • Plot thresholds (standards/criteria) on graphs
  • Generate statistical and exceedance reports
  • Plot locations meeting certain criteria on a map
  • Plot locations having exceedances on a map
  • Perform analysis of variance (ANOVA) across locations
  • Provide “portal” access to your public (optional)

Data Output Features Include:

  • Submit water quality data to the EPA WQX via the built-in node client or your own node (supports complete, partial, and incremental data submissions).
  • Find and export data for additional assessment from locations where exceedances are occurring (supports association of locations, assessment units, designated uses, and use-thresholds for characteristics).
  • Search for, filter, and export data within AWQMS for one or more organizations in a single format compatible with Microsoft® Excel and flat-file formats.
  • Live monitoring location feed with the CDSN Exceedance & Monitoring Location Mapper, allowing geospatial examination of monitoring locations from multiple organizations and multiple databases. Summary data of exceedances or all activity/results for single monitoring location can be quickly accessed from the Mapper without logging into AWQMS.

Join CDSN, Become a New Data Organization --

When you are ready to join CDSN, call or email our Project Coordinators so they can learn about your organization's specific needs and get you started. CDSN offers many types of training opportunities such as webinars, presentations, group trainings and one-on-one assistance. Please email the CDSN Project Coordinators for more information and be sure to check our Calendar and Upcoming Events to catch an event that is already scheduled.

General AWQMS Information

Note -- in May 2015, AWQMS v4.0 was deployed, with a completely new user dashboard. We will be replacing the info documents below as soon as new documentation becomes available.
(P) AWQMS Product Overview (2013)
(CDSN) AWQMS 4.0 CDSN Fact Sheet: Getting Started Uploading & Analyzing Data (June 15, 2015) (PDF)
(P) Important Information When Using AWQMS with Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10

CDSN New Data Provider Organizations

(CDSN) Planning timeline for new data uploaders who have a regulatory or program deadline (August 2013)
(CDSN) New Data Provider Organization Form .doc (August 2013)
* Please also go to the Upload Templates tab above to view the latest Minimum Data Element fact sheets and upload templates for your specific kind of data (Physical/Chemical, Biological, etc.)

CDSN Data Upload Templates --


CDSN AWQMS Templates & Minimum Data Elements For All Types of Data

CDSN is working with its leadership and agencies such as CDPHE WQCD and EPA to ensure that CDSN Minimum Data Elements meet or exceed the minimum required for data upload into AWQMS and EPA National Data Warehouse, as well as achieving our goals of sound data management and being able to have the correct Minimum Data Elements for data to be in compliance with different programs such as Reg85, NonPoint Source Program, Measurable Results Program, and to be able to be submitted for Water Quality Control Division data calls (if desired in the future by the data provider).
As new releases of AWQMS are occurring at a rate of about every 6 months, with new features and data elements becoming possible, please email the Project Coordinators to get the CDSN template for the types of data below (if there isn't already a link). Please check back and get the latest template before your data uploads. This will ensure that you get the best template for your starting point and the most up to date information. Our templates are different than those provided "off the shelf" by EPA WQX, Gold Systems, or CDPHE.

List of CDSN Minimum Data Elements (MDEs)Templates for AWQMS & WQX to request:

  • Biological and Habitat Indices and Activity Metric Template
    • (contact Project Coordinators)
  • Continuous Monitoring Template
    • (contact Project Coordinators)

Hints for Ordering Lab Outputs --

If you are just starting a sampling program or are currently sampling, you can save time and money by asking for your lab data in a WQX-friendly format that contains all of the CDSN minimum data elements. It is never too late to change how your data comes to you from your lab.
The best way to get your lab data is via a text file or a spreadsheet so the data can be directly cut/paste into the CDSN upload template column by column, rather than having to be manually transposed and hand-entered via computer keyboard. If your lab out even more closely matches the CDSN data template, the better (see ACZ example below). While there may be upfront cost and effort in getting your preferred lab to create a CDSN-WQCD upload friendly lab output, the savings in time and the reduction in possible human error during the final formatting process is a huge off-set. You can capitalize on the efforts already made to work with Colorado labs already being used by CDSN data organizations by noting the labs that are in the process of providing CDSN-WQCD lab outputs. These lab outputs are WQX compatible and met the minimum data requirements (some massaging may still be required) for both entities.
Minimum data elements are metadata, qualifiers, and information about your activity and result that satisfy CDSN AWQMS requirements, WQCD requirements for submitting programmatic data, and/or contain elements that CDSN technical advisors recommend for good data management. CDSN is here to assist you in making sure your data is uploaded accurately and completely, however we do not analyze or "judge" your data.
To help get data in the closest possible upload-ready format from commercial or in-house labs, you can show your lab representative the latest CDSN minimum data elements fact sheet, data upload template, and lab guidance common issues summary which highlight necessary fields and data elements for both CDSN and WQCD and allowable WQX values for data elements.
Physical-Chemical Results Template
CDSN Minimum Data Elements Fact Sheet -- 7/1/2015
Lab Guidance & Issues Summary -- 10/15/2014
Upload Template (xls) -- 10/15/2014
CDPHE WQCD Result Detection Limit and Lab Code Guidance -- 3/1/2015
At the request of our data organizations CDSN Project Coordinators have helped labs design CDSN-WQCD-WQX friendly outputs. While the EPA Region 8 is inherently putting out data that is efficient to cut/paste into the CDSN upload template for Physical/Chemical data in its SCRIBE files, here is a list of other labs we have recently worked with (2014) and from which you could discuss getting a "CDSN-WQCD" lab output. If you know of others please let us know. CDSN is not advocating for CDSN data organizations to use any lab in particular. We are providing our known information on which labs have output formats that meet CDSN's requirements and give the best odds of having a time-efficient formatting process with the least chance of human error introduced. All of the options below still have some cutting/pasting and final formatting that will need to done prior to upload, however it is much more minimal than if your lab were providing your results buried in a 13 page pdf document.
EPA Region 8 Lab -- Contact Name - Don Goodrich | (P) 303-312-6687
EPA Region 8 "SCRIBE" outputs are by nature in an friendly format containing the necessary minimum data elements:
Sample SCRIBE lab sheets -- these are examples of a lab sheet that both contain all of the CDSN Minimum Data Elements for Physical/Chemical Data:
We will be providing an example that "maps" or crosswalks the columns in the EPA SCRIBE output to the CDSN physical/chemical upload template soon.
ACZ -- Contact Name - Michael W. McDonough | (970) 879-6590 ext. 617
ACZ CDSN-WQCD Sample Output File
Sample CDSN output EDD, blank columns are columns that are provided in the lab output but will need to be filled out when applicable by the data organization prior to uploading into AWQMS.
CU Limnology Lab -- Contact Name - Dr. James H. McCutchan, Jr | 303-492-5192
Sample CDSN output EDD
CU Limnology Lab provided the output via the CDSN upload template.
ALS Global -- Contact Name - Amy Wolf | (P) 970 490 1511  X201
Sample CDSN output EDD
A similar effort of assisting other states' and tribes' AWQMS users has been undertaken by the AWQMS programmers. Please note that these states and tribes may not be as stringent as providing ALL of the CDSN minimum data elements, as our minimum data elements were designed to take into consideration elements considered by CDSN technical advisors as essential for good data management along with needs of WQCD programs and WQCD data submittal requirements, and with the needs of EPA and the water quality community to be able to actually use data from multiple organizations in their own analyses.
With the above caveats, you can click the link below to download a zip file containing guidance for labs regarding chemistry data destined for the EPA Water Quality eXchange (WQX) via AWQMS or other data submission utilities -- in making this link available, we are hoping it helps you better understand the concepts of ordering the best outputs from your lab(s).

AWQMS Release Notes --

A benefit of collaborating with CDSN is having the latest version of AWQMS automatically and seamlessly deployed so CDSN users are always accessing the latest version. If you find a bug, need assistance troubleshooting, or have an enhancement request for any of the AWQMS features please let the Project Coordinators know.
AWQMS Release Notes

AWQMS Tutorials, Training, and Other Resources --

Both CDSN Project Coordinators and the AWQMS Programmers are creating data upload, data download and data analysis training materials. Those created by the Programmers (Gold Systems) are for a multi-state and tribal audience which may be using a slightly different version of AWQMS than CDSN. This is because CDSN has designed and deployed some custom environments and features unique for our 65+ organization collaborative effort and specific to our CDSN-WQCD Minimum Data Elements (see the Upload Templates tab above). However the concepts and process will generally be similar, so we are including materials created for CDSN users and also for general AWQMS users below. Please check back often as these are being frequently updated and added to.
Materials that have been created just for CDSN are shown with a "(CDSN)". Materials created by the AWQMS Programmers are shown with a "(P)". When downloading data from within the AWQMS environment, CDSN recommends using the "Standard Export" (unabbreviated) format to ensure that all essential data elements are downloaded in the file. Other files are summaries or subsets of the metadata stored in AWQMS for the activity/

CDSN-Specific AWQMS Information, Guides & Tutorials

(CDSN) AWQMS 4.0 CDSN Fact Sheet: Getting Started Uploading & Analyzing Data (June 15, 2015) (PDF)
(CDSN) CDSN Minimum Data Elements Fact Sheet -- 7/1/2015 (PDF)
For additional important CDSN information, please see the materials on the "Become a New Data Organization", "Upload Templates" and "Lab Guidance" tabs above.

General AWQMS Information

(P) AWQMS 4.0 User Guide -- Coming Soon
(P) AWQMS 2.50 User Guide (June 2013) (PDF)
(P) Important Information When Using AWQMS with Internet Explorer versions 9 and 10 (PDF)

General AWQMS Tutorials - Getting Started

(P) Getting started with AWQMS 4.0- An overview of the basic process - by AWQMS Programmers (June 2015) (PDF)
(P) Getting Started With AWQMS - A detailed guide with examples (PDF)
(P) Webinar - Intro to AWQMS with Pueblo San Felipe (June 2013) (m4v - 220MB)

WQCD REG 85 Data Reporting Requirements & Updates

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) Water Quality Control Division (WQCD) posts Reg85 updated information and important news about Reg85 Stakeholder meetings and the Nutrients 2015 Triennial Review <here> and also <here>. We recommend checking both of these links frequently. WQCD's Reg85 contact information is 303-692-6412 or cdphe.nutrients@state.co.us.

Resources for Mapping (Translating to WQX) Characteristic Names, Taxonomic Species Names, and/or Analytical Methods

National Environmental Methods Index (NEMI):
For almost 11 years, the National Environmental Methods Index (NEMI) has been helping scientists and managers find and compare data-collection methods and protocols for all stages of the monitoring process. In July 2013, a new version of NEMI was deployed to make searching for environmental methods, protocols, and procedures even easier with a new and powerful search functions, and expanded database of over 1,200 methods, including statistical methods. NEMI v4.0 factsheet (July 2013)
ITIS (Integrated Taxonomic Information System):
AWQMS and WQX use the taxonomic names found in ITIS. For synonyms and lookup of names, this is a useful resource if you are uploading macro-invertebrate data into AWQMS and/or WQX. If a taxonomic name is not already enabled in AWQMS and WQX, and it appears in ITIS, work with the Project Coordinators to have it added to WQX. http://www.itis.gov/
USGS PCodes Crosswalked (Translated) to WQX Characteristics:
CDSN Project Coordinators are completing an effort to crosswalk (aka map) 1,625 USGS Parameter Codes (Pcodes) to WQX Characteristic Names. The references below can also be used to help find accurate synonyms between lab parameter names and WQX valid characteristic names. You can find the list of valid WQX characteristic names on the green Characteristics tab in our CDSN data upload template. If you are trying to crosswalk a Pcode to a Characteristic Name, please give the Project Coordinators a call or email to see if they have already worked with your Pcode of interest..

AWQMS Tutorials - Other

Some videos are in a webm format (which plays well in most browsers). For Internet Explorer, you can install a free add-in (from here)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS 3.20 New Features (September 2014) (webm - 146MB)
(P) Import Configuration Best Practices (9/10/2014) (PDF)
(P) Webinar - Region 5 Tribal AWQMS Training Part I (January 27, 2014) (WMV - 99MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS 3.0 Overview (December 10, 2013) (WMV - 83MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS Region 6 NM ENIPC AWQMS Refresher Part III (October 2, 2013) (WMV- 143MB)
(P) PPT- Biological Data in AWQMS and WQX (September 25, 2013) (PPT- 150MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS Region 6 NM ENIPC AWQMS Refresher Part II (September 9, 2013) (WMV - 168MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS Region 6 NM ENIPC AWQMS Refresher Part I (August 27, 2013) (WMV - 174MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS 3.0 New Features (June 2013) (WMV - 123MB)
(P) Webinar - OK Tribal Call - Exporting and Submitting Data to WQX and other topics including using the Data
(P) Management Pages. (May 2013) (Video - 63MB)
(P) Webinar - OK Tribal Call on Importing Crosstab/Matrix Data Files (Apr. 2013) (Video - 150MB)
(P) Webinar - AWQMS 2.50 New Features Part 2 (Mar. 2013) (Video - 80MB)
(P) Threshold and CUSC Validation and Resolution Documentation
(P) Webinar - AWQMS 2.50 New Features Part 1 (Feb. 2013) (Video - 105MB) (Segment on managing the Thresholds Lookup Table starts at 11:39)
(P) LearningZen Course (login required) - AWQMS ver. 1.10 Rapid Data Entry Page (Oct. 2008)
(P) LearningZen Course (login required) - AWQMS ver. 1.08 Multi-Characteristic Graph (Oct. 2008)


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