Science & Technology
Modeling at EPA
EPA uses a wide variety of computational models to support the scientific analyses that inform our decisions and policies. These models increase the level of understanding about natural systems and the way in which they react to varying conditions, including the spread of toxic substances in various media, the short- and long-term effects of exposure to hazardous substances, and other forms of prediction and risk assessment. They estimate the environmental fate of pollutants, their impacts on human health and the environment, and the costs and benefits of alternative policies. Frequently, these models become the basis for environmental cleanup, protection, or regulation. Models therefore underlie how the Agency chooses to address a multitude of environmental questions.
EPA offices, labs and centers maintain a number of websites that provide information about modeling activities that support research and regulatory programs:
- Air and Climate
- Drinking Water, Surface Water and Ground Water
- Ecosystems and Landscape Ecology
- Pesticides and Toxic Substances
- Pollution Prevention
- Waste Management and Emergency Response
- Pollutant Fate and Transport, Human Exposure, Toxicology and Risk Assessment
Models Knowledge Base
The best place to search for and learn about the models upon which EPA relies is in the Models Knowledge Base, a central repository developed by EPA's Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling (CREM).
For each model included in the Models Knowledge Base, information is provided on:
- its development;
- its conceptual basis, scientific detail and evaluation;
- technical requirements and how to use it;
- information on the its inputs and outputs; and
- directions for downloading it and links to further information.
Environmental Modeling Training
The training program in environmental modeling includes online training modules that should take approximately 45 minutes to complete, PDF versions are also available. The CREM training program provides simple and comprehensive resources on best practices and technical aspects of environmental modeling.
Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling (CREM)
EPA established CREM in 2000 to support the development and use of high quality computational models to inform EPA decision making. The CREM council consists of senior managers from across the Agency, while CREM workgroup members include modelers and scientists from the program offices and Regional offices. CREM Web site
National Research Programs
Chemical Safety Research
Developing tools to evaluate the potential of pesticides and industrial chemicals to hurt people and wildlife.
Clean Air Research
Assessing the health and environmental impacts of clean air regulations. Issues include: ozone, particulate matter, and multi-pollutant approaches.
Climate Change Research
Studying how global change--particularly in our climate -- affects air and water quality, ecosystems, human health, and socioeconomic systems. Providing information to decision-makers to help adapt to a changing climate.
Computational Toxicology Research
Integrating innovative computing and information technologies with molecular biology to develop decision support tools for assessing chemical exposure, hazard and risk. Coordinating research on chemical screening and prioritization, informatics and systems modeling.
Developing sustainable solutions to 21st century water resource problems, ensuring water quality and availability in order to protect human and ecosystem health.
Ecosystem Services Research
Investigating how to protect and restore ecosystem "services:" life-sustaining benefits we receive from nature. Examples include clean air and water, fertile soil for crop production, pollination, and flood control.
Homeland Security Research
Securing and sustaining water systems; characterizing contamination and determining risk; and remediating indoor and outdoor environments in the event of biological, chemical, or radiological contamination.
Human Health Research
Assessing risks to people's health from environmental pollutants. Developing biological indicators to determine how regulatory decisions affect public health.
Human Health Risk Assessment
Providing citizens and regulators with information about pollutants or naturally occurring compounds that are linked to respiratory illnesses, cancers, cardiac disease, birth defects, neurological impairments and other health problems.
Land and Waste Management Research
Developing ways to preserve land, restore contaminated properties, and protect the public from contaminants. Issues include: contaminated sediments, groundwater contaminant transport and remediation, and mine waste technology.
Studying the unique properties of nanomaterials, determining their potential impacts, and developing approaches to evaluate any risks. Exploring how nanomaterials can be used effectively to clean up contaminants released into the environment.
Making sustainability the next level of environmental protection by drawing on advances in science and technology, applying government regulations and policies to protect public health and welfare, and promoting green business practices.
Science Advisory Organizations
Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis
Provides advice on technical and economic aspects of reports EPA prepares on the Clean Air Act's effects.
Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee
Provides advice on the technical bases for EPA's national ambient air quality standards program.
Environmental Technology Council
Enhances communication and coordination of all EPA technology activities.
Nat'l Advisory Council for Env. Policy and Technology
Advises the EPA Administrator on a broad range of environmental policy, technology and management issues.
Office of Science Policy
Coordinates and shares information among EPA's laboratories and centers, and provides expert advice on the use of scientific information.
Office of the Science Advisor
Leads cross-Agency science and science policy development and implementation to ensure the best possible use of science.
Science Advisory Board
Provides peer review and other types of expert advice on a wide range of topics in science and technology.
Science and Technology Policy Council
Addresses EPA's significant science policy issues that go beyond regional and program boundaries. Contributes guidance for selected EPA regulatory and enforcement policies and decisions.