In 1998, the WCHD Environmental Health Program was relatively small; it had only 13 environmental health specialist staff members.
Because of the groundwater contamination and need for current maps displaying the extent of the problem, WCHD decided to create a second drinking-water position to initiate its first GIS in an effort to organize spatial drinking-water data across the county.
WCHD staff still use these study areas today when reviewing water sources for building permits.
In an effort to advance the investigative process, WCHD pursued several new projects.
The GIS layer designating the WCHD wellhead protection area has also been very useful for emergency processes.
WCHD has been able to incorporate GIS layers into various local-land-use-planning processes (Miller et al., 2003; Miller, 2005).
WCHD's initial GIS projects were started with direct funding for projects (i.e., mapping of EDB & 1,2 DCP with respect to private wells and mapping of public wellhead and wellhead protection areas), but once these projects and funding ended, no clear path was discussed for keeping the GIS data sets updated.
WCHD's Environmental Health Program has four separate offices with two, three, or four employees crowded into each space.
WCHD recently upgraded again, from ArcView 3.2 GIS, a GeoExplorer II Global Positioning System (GPS), and Pathfinder Office 2.1 GPS software to ArcMap 9 GIS, a GeoXT GPS, and ArcPAD 6 GIS/GPS software.
GIS is now only a small portion of the WCHD drinking-water staff responsibilities, but the need for GIS has been growing since the geographic data are being used by WCHD and other agencies on a regular basis.