Question: Where can we share well water data?

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by stevie | August 01, 2018 20:53 | #16825

While many states offer well water testing, the data on what's in the water is only shared with homeowners, or shared publicly by zip code (at least in Wisconsin). Does anyone know of a place where well water data is compiled? Are there examples of community created maps or databases for local well water testing results?


Answers that came in from Twitter: (handles below from Twitter)

From Shadrock Roberts - @Shadrocker : One option would be to put it into @OpenStreetMapUS. I don't know of any community databases exclusively for well water, though. @rrlash @jerry_shannon @rjhale @mattzook ya'll have any ideas?

  • Randal Hale - @rjhale : OSM is probably a good place - but you stand the chance of someone deleting/altering it.
  • From Matthew Zook - @mattzook: No real ideas besides the ones suggest, OSM would be widely distributed

From Jerry Shannon - @jerry_shannon : How public is it? Is this something for anyone to access or for use by a specific community group? I could imagine using something like @OpenDataKit and @onadata, which gives you a way to dynamically access the data. Or @fulcrumapp, though that has a cost.

  • From Jerry Shannon @jerry_shannon : If the goal is to make results easily visible, I'd think about a @LeafletJS map hosted on @github. The dataset could go in the repo and be dynamically updated as results come in. A Shiny app from @rstudio would be another option. Both would have front end technical investment.
  • From Public Lab - @PublicLab : Ideally something anyone can access
  • From Ona - @onadata : Ona public projects (free!) have map visualizations built in. You can import existing data or view live data as it’s collected. Check out our 2016 holiday card dataset: …. You can also view photos and charts — and export raw data (in the Overview tab).

From Coleman McCormick - @colemanm : We'd be glad to talk about how @fulcrumapp Community might be of use here for crowdsourcing / open data collection + publishing

  • From Randal Hale - @rjhale : Fulcrum Community is a awesome thing - been using it with one group for over a year.

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Hi @stevie - Jumping in here (first-time posting actually :)

You find anything else on this? I'd be interested in learning along with you.

Some reactions / questions: -- It looks like most of the feedback you got from twitter was more about the techs/platforms. In terms of getting the data...

-- Are you looking at private or gov't data? Private could be a company like or a lab like which does the actual testing (mytapscore just packages things). People go to these when they're gov't doesn't offer tests and/or if they're offered but it'd take long / involves beaucracy, etc. If gov't data, I imagine there's variance by state. In CA, local water utilities offer tests and they report certain things up to the state. Not sure exactly what that looks like (yet).

-- Data ownership and privacy issues are involved here... I'm not sure it's clear to anyone whose "data" well water testing belongs to. By default, I think it belongs to the home owner. (My parallel is in the still developing world of healthcare: a test on whether or not you have cancer is first and foremost yours and hospital can't just share that with people without your consent.) The reason this matters: Home / property values go down with bad results; and there are privacy + stigma concerns to consider if you can ID an individual who has, say, lead poisoning. --> So stuff that is released is aggregated enough to not be identifiable. But not everyone releases data. And I think there are different data types / standards among those that do.

-- I'd love to learn more about the Wisconsin zip-code level data you mentioned. Can you share a link?

-- Have you poked around

-- Also possibly relevant:

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Well I'm seeing line breaks are stripped :/

Sorry, there's a bug we're working on and the line breaks are still there, just not being displayed. We'll have it fixed soon, thanks for your patience!

Ah I was hoping to have a fix on the line breaks before I share back with the group asking about this, no luck yet! But::

I think they're interested in using the data collected from people who get their personal home wells tested by the state. The home owners own the data (and the state?)- like you mentioned. But I believe they're interested in sharing and showing results from people who willingly get their water tested, and then submit their data to a public database. Just trying to see here if anyone knows of groups who are doing this - exploring what it might look like, what challenges they might run into. They're trying to get more granular on environmental exposures, I believe in this instance related to large scale farming operations.

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(line breaks fixed!!)

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Noting that @imvec - @xose and others -- started with for #odor logging, and have over the summer started a more general-purpose logging/mapping project at this address:


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