Practical Implementation Advice
- Version 3.0 of the Facility Identification (FacID) data exchange is now in production. States and Tribes not already flowing Facility data should implement this data exchange. Network Partners currently using FacID v2.3 should migrate to v3.0.
- Partners using either OpenNode2 or the EN-Node should use FacID Node Plugins.
- FacID is particularly useful for Partners that have integrated facility management systems or that are considering building an integrated system. Implementing the FacID flow will also allow Partners to more effectively use data from EPA’s greenhouse gas reporting system.
- Partners that do not have integrated facility management systems-and do not have plans for one-may want to consult with EPA about whether they should implement the FacID flow.
- Partners should develop and execute a Trading Partner Agreement (TPA) with their EPA regional office to establish the terms of the exchange. A model TPA is available.
FacID Data Flow Options
The current options for flowing data are presented below. Exchange Network (EN) flow options are shown in green. There are no non-EN flow options.
Summary of Current Practice
FacID is one of the most widely implemented National System Flows among Exchange Network Partners. U.S. EPA’s Facility Registry System (FRS) allows manual submission of XML files on a temporary basis while partners work to fully implement the Exchange Network data flow.
Flow Status and Milestones
Version 3.0 of the FacID flow is fully “Network ready” and in production. The Exchange Network encourages Partners to execute Trading Partner Agreements (TPAs) with EPA that define expectations around details such as the frequency of data exchange.
Institutional responsibilities and target completion dates for each activity are presented here. EPA’s general criteria for assessing the “readiness” of National System Flows follow.
|Solutions for all Partners||Complete|
|Access to transaction status||Complete|
|Accessible and stable flow documentation||
Adopt and implement all parts of the FacID v3.0 flow
Communicate importance of executing TPAs
EN Staff and EN Governance
|Specifications for Data Access Services||Complete|
|Clear path to eliminate alternatives||N/A|
Node: A Partner’s point of presence on the EN consisting of a server (hardware and software) enabled with web services that allow Partners to automatically provide and receive information via the Network and to publish data for use by other EN Partners.
EN Client: A stand-alone application (i.e., software code) that lets Partners share data, request data, and receive results from an EN request. Clients differ from nodes in that they cannot respond to queries from other nodes and so cannot publish data. Clients also need more manual (vs. automated) steps, for example, to extract data and generate and review reports before submission.
EN Services Center: A website that allows EN users to easily send, get, and download information from other EN Partners. The Services Center will serve as a replacement for manual submissions of information through CDX Web. It is an appropriate solution for those Partners who do not require or are not yet ready for the automation and data publishing capabilities of an EN Node. The EN Services Center is available at https://enservices.epa.gov.
CDX: EPA’s Central Data Exchange (CDX) serves as EPA’s centralized electronic report receiving system. It receives data from Partners and directs the data to EPA’s program-specific National Systems (e.g., AQS, WQX, etc.).
CDX Node: CDX Node is EPA’s node on the EN, allowing EPA to receive, send, and provide information via the Network. CDX Node can also publish EPA data for use by other EN Partners.
CDX Web (non-EN) Application: A legacy CDX application that receives data (flat file or XML format) via standard web browsers. CDX Web applications are not consistent with EN protocols (e.g., they have a separate authentication and authorization service from the EN) and typically involve more manual steps than a node-to-node exchange of data.
Data Access Services: Using web services to make data available to Network users by querying nodes and returning environmental data in the form of XML documents. Published data can be accessed using a node or clients. Published data can be used in a number of ways, such as populating Web pages, synchronizing data between sites, viewing data in a Web service client, or building new sources of data into an integrated application.
Direct User: A Partner entering data directly into a National Data System through a system-specific interface (manual entry).
EPA National Data System: Program-specific data systems at EPA that can receive and publish data..
Local Data System: A Partner’s database or series of databases in which environmental data is stored, managed, and manipulated.
XML: eXtensible Markup Language is a flexible language for creating common information formats and sharing both the format and content of data over the Internet and elsewhere. The electronic language that expresses and transports data standards and transaction sets. XML uses an extensible set of tags to describe the meaning of data.
National System Flow “Ready to Use” Criteria
A focus of Exchange Network Governance has been developing the National System Flows to help Partners take advantage of the Network’s business value. Governance has identified six criteria for each flow to meet to make these flows “ready to use” by Partners:
- Automation-ready flows. Support fully automated node-to-node flows.
- Solutions for all Partners. Provide appropriately scaled EN solutions for Partners of all sizes, needs, and capabilities. Some Partners such as tribes and local clean air authorities may not need a fully functional node. Other EN solutions should be available to these users.
- Access to transaction status. Support a fully automated process for reporting transaction status, processing results, and QA results from receipt by CDX through final processing in the National System.
- Accessible and stable flow documentation. Develop and make accessible stable documentation that describes all flow requirements. This includes a complete Flow Configuration Document (FCD) that is in compliance with EN procedures for version management.
- Specifications for Data Access Services. Provide a national standard set of query/solicit services defined in the FCD whether or not data are currently published. Implement a publishing interface where published data are critical to partner business processes (such as NPDES permit information for NetDMR).
- Clear path to eliminate alternatives. Have a clear path to eliminate legacy system alternatives to EN exchanges, including transition support for Partners.
David G. Smith
smith.davidg [at] epa.gov