Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions we frequently get asked. If you can’t find an answer here, Contact the EIM Team!

About EIM - General

EIM is not a commercial system. A contractor built the first system for us in 1997. Dedicated in-house core staff maintains and improves it. EIM continues to grow and adapt in response to changing needs.

"Washington Department of Ecology (2019, or whatever year you downloaded the data). Environmental Information Management System (”

List the Study ID(s) and Study Name(s) from which you used data.

Yes. EIM is unavailable every night starting at 8 pm until approximately midnight, while the system updates.

Account Management

No. You need to make your own account. We need to know who to contact when we have questions about a particular dataset, and we get that information from your account. There is nothing that prevents you both from submitting data to the same Study in EIM, through your separate accounts. All you need is the proper Study ID in the first column of the Results template.

Change your email in SAW first. Log in to EIM Loader. You'll see this message: "EIM noticed you changed your email. Do you need to change your Organization?" There are two options: (1) "Change Organization" or (2) "No, same Organization.” If you choose “Change Organization,” EIM will lead you through the process of associating your user profile and email with another organization. (You can be associated with more than one organization). If you choose "No, same Organization," you will still be associated with the same organization and your email address will update in EIM.

No. Once a batch of data has been loaded into EIM, the files get deleted from the holding area. (The data can be found using EIM Search). If you can’t find the data in Search, the files might have been submitted to us but not yet loaded. Ask your EIM Data Coordinator for help. They can tell you the status.

You need to make your own account. We maintain a record of which person submitted which data. We need to maintain the record that your coworker submitted past data.

Data Submittal - General

EIM is generally for environmental samples, but what is accepted is always changing. Download the help document "Data Types Not Entered Into EIM" for more detailed information.

Note, as a general rule we don't enter data into EIM which is already publicly available in other databases.

We accept data from organizations we are already working with at Ecology. This includes cleanup sites, sediment monitoring, landfill groundwater monitoring, water quality grants, NPDES receiving water studies, and certain stormwater monitoring. The EIM submittal requirement is written into the agreements for these types of projects. We also accept water quality monitoring data for the Clean Water Act Water Quality Assessment (303d). This is the only type of data where an agreement with Ecology is not needed to submit it.

To submit data to EIM you must have an EIM account. Information on how to apply for an account can be found here:

Volunteer/student collected data is generally not accepted.

The Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) has two different programs, PTAP (Petroleum Technical Assistance Program) and HOTAP (Heating Oil Technical Assistance Program). Data from PTAP goes into EIM whereas data from HOTAP doesn’t.

No. A PDF is like a photograph. You can look at it, but you can't search it or use the numbers. We need the data in spreadsheet format. Submit data using the EIM templates, available in EIM Help. Most labs provide data in EIM format, which makes it easy to populate the templates. Also see our template help documents, designed to help you fill out the templates. Your EIM Data Coordinator will help you through the process.

Some Studies are long-term and the submitting Organization changes over time. In most cases it does make sense for the new Organization to add their data to the existing Study instead of creating a new Study. It is good to have all the data together under one Study. Contact your EIM Data Coordinator with information about the Study, like Study ID and the date you started sampling. They will add your Organization to the Study if appropriate.

Ask for an EIM EDD (electronic data deliverable). Many labs provide them. You save time because your data come pre-formatted for the EIM Result Template. Fill in a few additional fields, then upload your template to the EIM Loader. Another benefit - fewer copy-paste errors. The EIM Result Help has color coding for labs indicating the minimum fields that should be populated for clients. 

Your data goes into a holding area and is stored as what we call a "batch". An EIM Data Coordinator will review the batch to make sure it is compatible with the various database rules of EIM. The time it takes for a Data Coordinator to review your batch varies by project, workload, and staffing levels. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before we can review your data. Please note that data are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis, therefore, coordinators cannot honor requests for priority review from external submitters. It is not uncommon for the Data Coordinator to find edits that are required before the data can be loaded into EIM. If edits are needed, your Data Coordinator will contact you. You will then make the edits to your original template and resubmit it to EIM. When your batch passes review, the Data Coordinator will load it to EIM and send an email notification of data load to you and to the Ecology manager who is assigned to the site or grant, if one applies.

Data Submittal - Locations

We add measuring points for cases like re-surveys of well monuments and conversions of above-ground monuments to flush-mounted ones.  New measuring points will not affect data already in EIM.  Contact your EIM Data Coordinator to add it to EIM.  Provide the following information:

• New measuring point (MP) or top of casing (TOC) ID (for example, TOC2)

• MP or TOC description

• MP or TOC start date

• MP or TOC elevation

• MP or TOC units

• Elevation accuracy

• Elevation collection method

• Elevation datum (NAVD88)

Use the new measuring point for your new data.

In order to prevent unnecessary duplicate Locations in EIM, we ask that everyone share existing Locations if the Location description and other Location metadata accurately describe where you sampled. You do not need to put that Location into your Locations template. Simply enter the existing Location ID into your Results template with your data. If you feel like some of the metadata for the Location could be more accurate and could be updated, or you have any other questions about existing Locations, contact your Data Coordinator.

Do not create separate Locations in EIM for the soil and groundwater data. Enter the location into EIM as a Temporary Environmental Investigation Well (EIW) and submit all the data under that one Location. Download help for "Temporary Environmental Investigation Wells" for more specific information about how to enter an EIW.

Do not create separate Locations in EIM for the soil and groundwater data. Enter one location into EIM as a well and submit submit all the data under that one Location. Follow the guidance in the Locations template help for entering wells. It will show what fields are required.

Location naming in EIM can be confusing. There are 3 fields related to Location Names: Location ID, Location Name, Study-Specific Location ID.Location ID and Location Name are in the Locations template. Location ID is also in the Result template, along with Study-Specific Location ID.Location ID is meant to be the short "ID" for your Location. Location Name is a short descriptive name for the Location. It is helpful if you put the waterbody name in here for example. Someone at a quick glance can then see what this Location is (example: Spring Creek at 59th). Location Description is where you put the longer, more detailed, explanation of the Location. For example, you could provide direction to the site, or explain landmarks.We often get asked why EIM requires Study-Specific Location ID. Two reasons:1. It allows you to assign a label your EIM Location that matches your site ID, like MW4. This is important for tying EIM data to project reports and maps.2. It allows two or more EIM Studies to share the same EIM Location, thus preventing the creation of duplicate Locations. Download help for "Naming Conventions for EIM Field Locations" which illustrates these concepts in more detail.

The Study-Specific Location ID is used for this purpose. In the Results template, enter the Location ID of the existing Location into the Location ID column, and enter your Location ID into the Study-Specific Location ID column. Both IDs will be in the data when it is downloaded from EIM Search.

Data Submittal - Results

Anyone can submit data to any study at any time. The person that submitted the study does not "own" it. So, multiple people from one organization can submit data to one study through their separate account. But that does not mean that some random person can load data to your study. The Data Coordinator will verify that it is an authorized Organization, and person, to add data before they load the data to the study. To submit data to the study, simply include the relevant Study ID in the result template (column A). EIM will use the Study ID to associate the data with the correct study.

Your data might be pit water or from a spring/seep. Pit water refers to standing water at the bottom of an excavation pit or trench. Pit water may be composed of pooled surface water runoff, groundwater seepage, or both. Download help for Pit Water Data.

A spring is where groundwater discharges to land surface or to a surface water body at a well-defined point or points. Seeps differ from springs by not having well-defined point(s) of discharge and usually have very low flow. Download help for Spring and Seep Data.

Yes, you need to submit pre-remediation soil sample results to EIM. The data are important to characterize the history of contamination at the site. You may choose to indicate that the samples were excavated in the Field Collection Comment field in Results. Contact your TCP site manager to see how far back the data should go.

If the stockpile soils were characterized for waste disposal purposes, the data does not go into EIM. If the stockpile soils were redistributed on the site, then the data can go into EIM.

Combine your lab EDD files into a single Results spreadsheet. It helps us review your data much faster.

EIM uses a standard set of data qualifiers based on EPA qualifiers.  Work with your lab to determine the most appropriate EIM data qualifier.  Valid EIM qualifiers are listed in the EIM Result template help document. The EIM Result template’s Result Data Qualifier field (column AS) only accepts a qualifier on the valid values list. Enter original qualifiers and their definitions into the Result Comment or Result Additional Comment fields (column AZ or BA, respectively).

Searching for data

There is no one date for the aerial photos in the EIM Search or Editor maps. We use Bing and ESRI imagery for the maps. The aerial photos are a composite of many different photos taken at different times.

Not at this time (2021) but we are working toward providing an API in the future. 

First, clear your browser’s history, more specifically, your browser’s cache images and files. How to do this depends on your browser. Information can be found online.  For example, you can search “how to clear cache images and files Chrome." Second, make sure JavaScript in enabled on your browser. 

If this doesn't work, contact us for help. 

6 million/6GB (sum of records in all the download files, including Studies, Locations, Well Locations, Well Measuring Point, (Discrete) Results, Bioassay, Time Series results, Summarized Time Series results, Water Column Profile results, and Summarized Water Column Profile results).

If the download is too big, EIM will not let you proceed past the download screen. You can either uncheck individual files to reduce the size of your download or go back and refine your search.

Downloads up to 50,000 records process immediately. Downloads over 50,000 records process every 2 hours.

No, you do not need an account to search for data. Anyone can view data in EIM Search.

Please provide the details of what you found using the Contact EIM link at the bottom of this page.