Surface water/field data submittal, review and reports

The MPCA uses a system called EQuIS (Environmental Quality Information System) to store water quality data from more than 17,000 sampling locations across the state. EQuIS contains information from Minnesota streams and lakes dating back to 1926.

2022-2023 timeline:

  • Through June 1, 2022: Submit project and location metadata. Complete 2021 data review.
  • Through Nov. 1, 2022: Submit project lab data via Lab_MN and field data via the Field data template.
  • Dec. 1, 2022: Begin final data review.
  • Dec. 15, 2022: Complete final data review for assessment related data.
  • Jan. 17, 2023: Data finalized and ready for the 2023 assessment process.

The MPCA has developed a format for an electronic data deliverable (EDD), the Lab_MN, for the submittal of lab data. This format is available for all labs to work on and incorporate into their processes.

The Contractor must develop the capability to provide the analytical data in the MPCA LAB_MN format. After the Contract Award, the Contractor should contact the MPCA Contract Representative with questions about this format.

The Lab_MN, chain-of-custody (COC), and instructions for filling out the COC are posted on EarthSoft’s Lab_MN Files For Minnesota Pollution Control Agency website. Please visit the MPCA EQuIS website for additional information about EQuIS and direct any questions to Melissa Meeuwsen at 651-757-2188. 

All laboratory data must be electronically submitted to the MPCA using the Lab_MN format. The Lab_MN format was designed to capture more sample and result metadata and was structured to allow for the submittal of quality assurance data from the laboratories. 

Use the Field Data Template (Step 3 below) to submit your field data on or before November 1.

The Project and Location forms are referred to as metadata forms. Their purpose is to provide information that characterizes data to answer who, what, when, where, why, and how about upcoming data results.

To complete the metadata forms online, first click on the required form, then at ‘File Download’ choose ‘Save’ and save the form to your desktop. Proceed to complete and email the required metadata and data referred to in Steps 1-3 to an EQuIS team member and designated MPCA project manager.

Note: It is important to always use the current online version of these forms, since they are updated frequently.

Step 1: Submit a Project Establishment Form for new projects or project updates.

Step 2: Submit a Location Establishment Form for the establishment of new sampling locations or for previously existing sampling locations that need to be associated with your project (co-located sites).

Step 3: Submit data results on or before November 1.

EDD formats and tools are now available. 

  • The MPCA requires the use of a lab data EDD, Lab_MN, for the submittal of lab data results. Please confirm that your lab has implemented the Lab_MN.
  • The MPCA provides the Field Data Template for entry and submittal of all field data.
  • Please visit the MPCA EQuIS website for more information.

Use the Field Data Template to submit your field data on or before November 1.

The MPCA's data management process supports the agency’s goal of timely and quality data storage.

To protect the quality of data in EQuIS, newly submitted data is marked as preliminary until it has been reviewed. MPCA project managers must review the data themselves or delegate it to a local partner who may be more familiar with the data.

Listed below are the important dates for this year’s upcoming final data review period.

2022-2023 priority watershed data timeline for project managers

  • Now through Nov. 1: Submit lab and field data.
  • Dec. 1: Begin final data review.
  • Dec. 1-15: Complete final data review.

During the first week of December, crosstab reports with review instructions will be emailed to project managers who submitted an "EQuIS ready" data template (see below) or an electronic data deliverable  (EDD) to the EQuIS Team by November 1. Please visit the MPCA EQuIS website for additional information about EDD submittals.

All priority watershed data must be finalized and ready for the assessment process by January 17, 2023. Late submittals will be processed as time allows. If deadlines are missed, the data will likely not be finalized in time to be used. Data submittal and review deadlines are important for those who want their data considered during the upcoming round of assessments.

The MPCA will conduct surface water assessments for these watersheds in early 2023 to determine whether water bodies meet state water quality standards:

  • 07020004 Minnesota River – Yellow Medicine River

  • 07040003 Mississippi River - Winona

  • 07040006 Mississippi River - La Crescent

  • 09020101 Bois De Sioux River

  • 09020102 Mustinka River

  • 09030006 Big Fork River

How to access EQuIS data:

  • Environmental Data Access (EDA). This database houses environmental data across a wide range of topics. EDA offers data viewing and downloading capabilities.
  • HTML icon Water quality data (U.S. EPA) - EPA’s data warehouse, a repository for water quality, biological, and physical data, provides access to data from many agencies including MPCA EQuIS data.
  • Customized data reports: Please contact an EQuIS team member.


Please contact an MPCA EQuIS team member if you have questions.