County Well Index Enhancement
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the County Well Index (CWI)?

CWI is the principle source of well construction information and geologic interpretations of well records in Minnesota. CWI also contains some soil boring records, mineral exploration test hole records, and scientific/research test hole records.

CWI was originally developed in the 1970’s by the Minnesota Geological Society (MGS) to support geological mapping. Initially, CWI was limited to datasets for specific counties. MGS compiled CWI into a statewide database and made it available to the public in the 1980’s.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) partnered with MGS in the 1990’s to assist in administration of the CWI database. Currently, MDH is responsible for maintaining the database and application, while still allowing both agencies to enter information into the database.

CWI Online was made available to the public in 2001 and is used by a variety of public and private sector groups.

Why enhance the County Well Index?

The County Well Index (CWI) database currently uses an outdated operating system. Although CWI can provide basic services, CWI’s outdated systems will eventually no longer be supported by information technology services. Over the years, manual data entry and database conversions created inadvertent data errors that need to be systematically addressed and corrected. There are thousands of well records that have accumulated as a backlog and need to be entered..

MDH gathered input on improving the collection and sharing of environmental health information from a focus group in 2008. Users and contributors of CWI data discussed how the information and interpretations of the CWI data can be improved. The group recommended making data sets more accessible and usable and to improve locational information about wells.

In 2012, as part of the new Clean Water Fund supported enhancement, MDH held external stakeholder meetings with representatives from drilling contractors, consultants, local and state government agencies and other interested parties who use the current CWI Online program. A similar meeting was held with MDH staff. The external stakeholders and the internal users provided MDH with valuable input on how to improve the information and functionality of the CWI Online program.

What CWI enhancements need to be accomplished?

There are several enhancements that will be made based on the stakeholder input:

  • Develop capabilities to enter all new well records as they are received by MDH.
  • Develop workflow system and assign responsibility for maintaining and administering CWI and enforcing data entry and editing standards.
  • Address errors resulting from data entry and database conversion, including incomplete or missing information,
  • Improve geographic location accuracy for the 66% of the CWI records that do not meet the 25 meter accuracy standard,
  • Update the online CWI application to allow use of a variety of base maps and make the information more easily accessible.
  • Provide additional information such as well sealing records, well disclosure information and scanned images of well records.
  • Enter the backlog of 52,000 – 77,000 well construction records located at MGS and MDH.

How will MDH proceed to accomplish these CWI enhancements?

  • MDH established an internal CWI database management workgroup, including MGS representation, to lead efforts to address the proposed goals and activities identified above.
  • MDH established two ad hoc workgroups consisting of external and internal users to assist with updating and administering CWI.

Do you have County Well Index (CWI) enhancement ideas?

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Updated Wednesday, September 03, 2014 at 07:55AM