[Tracking Times] Three New Data Topics!

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Environmental Public Health Tracking Newsletter

Tracking Times August 2020

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Three New Data Topics!

We recently added three new topics to our data portal. Data are available at the county level, and some measures include data at the census tract level. These new topics provide data on a community’s natural and human-made features and its population characteristics.

The three new topics are:

  • Community Characteristics—data on flood vulnerability, households, internet access, land cover, land use, and medical infrastructure (this last sub-topic is coming soon!)
  • Community Design—data on access to parks and elementary schools, commute time, motor vehicle-related fatalities, proximity of population and schools to highways, and types of transportation to work (this last sub-topic is coming soon!)
  • Populations and Vulnerabilities—data on demographics, health status, social vulnerability index, and socioeconomic status

Each one of the sub-topics listed above includes multiple measures.

Updated feature

Based on user tests with folks like you, we’ve updated one of our features, called the Report Builder. With this tool, you can create a custom report by adding charts, tables, and maps for multiple topics in one spot.

Please let us know if you have any questions. Happy Tracking!

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Taking Action with Data

Read the latest success stories from the Tracking world.

Increasing well water testing and identifying contamination sources in Clark County, Wisconsin.

Clark County Health Department staff noticed that nitrate contamination in private well water has been increasing over time. According to their well testing data in 2010, about 6% of wells had unsafe nitrate levels. In 2017, this number was up to 20%. In their 2017 County Environmental Health Profile, the average concentration of nitrate in private wells was more than two times greater than the Wisconsin average. They identified a need for more testing data, a response plan for contaminated wells, and increased community education.

Health department staff worked with partners to aggregate well testing data from four sources into one, cohesive database. Read more...

Targeted well testing and source testing in a small Wisconsin village in Portage County, Wisconsin.

Village of Nelsonville residents expressed concerns with the quality of their drinking water, which comes from private wells. The Wisconsin Well Water Viewer showed there had been a lack of private well water quality tests in the area. Of the 70 samples collected within the village, 40% had nitrate levels higher than is recommended, although only 13 of the samples had been taken within the past 10 years. Due to this lack of data, residents were unsure if their water was safe to drink.

In fall 2018, Portage County Health Department staff tested 60 private wells for bacteria, nitrate, and other possible contaminants. Of the 60 wells tested, 28 exceeded the groundwater nitrate standard of 10mg/L. Read more...

Heat and Health Tracker, Webinar, Extreme Precipitation

New Heat & Health Tracker

CDC has released a first-of-its-kind, online tool to help emergency and public health planners prepare for and respond to extreme heat events. The Heat & Health Tracker provides timely, user-friendly, local-level heat and health data and information that can be used to:

  • Inform decisions and public health actions.
  • Describe and locate vulnerable populations.
  • Determine resources and potential needs.

Webinar: Information Systems to Advance Environmental Justice

The Wisconsin Tracking Program will be participating in an EPA webinar on Information Systems to Advance Environmental Justice.

Advancing environmental justice requires refined information on environmental emissions and exposures, health effects, and social determinants of health. For this reason, three examples of cutting-edge data systems on environment and public health will be presented, (i.e., Wisconsin DHS's Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Emission Events Database, and EPA’s Toxic Release Inventory).

The webinar will take place on September 10 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. CST. Registration is free and open to the public.

Extreme Precipitation Events: What is the Impact?

The latest Nelson Issue Brief, What are the Impacts of Extreme Precipitation Events, highlights research on detailing likely future precipitation changes, adaptation efforts, and ecological, social and economic consequences of the increasing frequency and intensity of these events. To see past issues of the Nelson Issue Brief, visit their website.