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GEMS:Great Environmental Moments in Science

Air/Climate/Energy

Air

Papermill
Transforming Paper Mill Pollution into Commercial Resource
EPA-pioneered green chemistry technology that filters toxic pollutants from industrial waste and turns it into a marketable resource has the potential to pay big dividends for paper mills.
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Cars in traffic
Mobile Air Monitoring Detects Hard-to-Find Air Pollution Problems
EPA scientists examine nanoparticle impacts on vehicle emissions and air pollution.
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Overhead shot of a highway system
Can Highways Contribute to Asthma?
EPA scientists and partners team up to examine the link between road-related air pollution and susceptibility to asthma.
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A pan on an open fire
Better Burning, Better Breathing: Cleaner Stoves
EPA researchers are testing performance and emissions of solid-fuel cook stoves.
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Map of the US showing the Air Quality Index
EPA Findings Improve Air Quality Modeling Nationwide
EPA-funded scientists make major air pollution discovery, improving models used to protect human health.
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Air Science 40 logo
40 years of EPA research in support of the Clean Air Act.
EPA celebrates 40 years of research in support of clean air
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Air pollution monitors
Understanding What You Breathe
EPA scientists are monitoring and analyzing air pollution to develop ways to trace pollutants to their source, and help air quality managers prioritize action.
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Highway Traffic
Highway Study Sizes Up Pollution
EPA researchers have discovered that particle pollutants collected from the same "airshed" (the air within a particular geographic area) in the vicinity of a highway target either the lungs or heart depending on their size and associated chemical components.
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tracking air pollution
Tracking Air Pollution to Improve Your Health
This summer, EPA scientists began sampling air across Cleveland, Ohio, to better understand the links between sources of air pollution and adverse health effects.
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child in the cold
Science That Takes Your Breath Away
The breath you "see" on a cold winter's day may become a useful diagnostic tool for identifying lung changes or damage from air pollutants. At EPA's Office of Research and Development, scientists are at the forefront of new biomarker research.
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Red barge
Air Pollutants Under Cover
It was a mystery. Louisiana environmental officials in Baton Rouge wanted to know why ozone levels were spiking above EPA's limits to protect health on days when they should have been lower.
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Along the Road
Along the Road
EPA scientists are developing innovative ways to study how air pollution along major roadways might affect nearby neighborhoods.
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Hummingbird
Watching Hummingbirds
A team of EPA researchers are keeping an eye on hummingbird feeding activity to gain insights into how air pollution, particularly exposure to elevated ozone levels, might affect hummingbirds and other wildlife.
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Climate

Shoreline
Saving our Estuaries: EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries Program Plans Ahead
Agency provides direct aid to implement adaption plans for climate change-related disaster.
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Map of the United States
Teaming Up to Improve Local Ozone Forecasts
EPA and NOAA scientists join forces to test the use of high-tech tools for predicting local ground-level ozone.
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Climate Change Penalty on Ozone
Climate Change Penalty on Ozone
EPA scientist finds new metric to measure impacts of climate change on ozone air quality.
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Carp jumping from the water behind a moving boat
Climate Change and Aquatic Invasive Species
U.S. EPA researchers are helping states incorporate the effects of climate change into plans to manage aquatic invasive species in their waters, coasts, and wetlands by looking at the combined effects of climate change and these organisms.
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Seattle Skyline
Climate Change and Ozone
A 2009 EPA report compiles and assesses the latest science on the implications of climate change for ozone formation in the United States.
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Allergies Getting Worse?
A recently-released EPA document examines what is known about the impacts of climate change and variability on airborne allergens and associated health effects in the United States.
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Energy

Green fuel pump
EPA Scientists Pioneer Methods for Greening Biofuels Production
EPA Researchers combine public and technical input on a study of the potential environmental and human health impacts of natural gas drilling.
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Burning natural gas
Hydraulic Fracturing: Testing the Waters
EPA Researchers combine public and technical input on a study of the potential environmental and human health impacts of a technique used to drill for natural gas.
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Puming fuel
Exploring Nano-sized Fuel Additives
EPA scientists examine nanoparticle impacts on vehicle emissions and air pollution.
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A collection of landfill waste
Energy from Waste: Burn or Bury?
EPA researchers have completed the first scientific comparison of whether it is better to burn or bury waste when trying to recover energy and minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
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17 Cows per Tank
17 Cows per Tank
Sports cars and school buses powered on fuel harvested from cow manure? It could happen, thanks to innovative designs recently awarded EPA's P3 Award for Sustainability.
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Cyrus Wadia, Ph.D
EPA Grantee Brings Solar Power Know-how to White House
EPA STAR Fellow Alum Joins Office of Science and Technology Policy
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Chemical Safety for Sustainability

Greener by Design

Tree branch
Twelve Principles of Green Chemistry
Producing chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances.
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A microscope
Sustainable Chemistry: An Even Darker Shade of Green
Innovative EPA researcher taps everyday tools and plants to develop environmentally friendly ways to make chemicals and nanomaterials.
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Hand holding a test tube
Spin Doctors: Reducing Environmental Burdens Through Better Chemistry
EPA scientists and partners develop new spinning methods to "green" chemical production.
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Directions to Questions and Answers
Q&A with EPA's Dr. John Leazer
Director of EPA's Sustainable Technology Division answers questions about green chemistry.
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Sign advertising the Expo
Green Research. Green Jobs. Green Future.
EPA will celebrate Earth Day with the 6th Annual National Sustainable Design Expo and EPA's P3 Award Competition on the National Mall in Washington, DC, on April 24 - 25, 2010.
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Competitors at Design expo
When Students Compete for Sustainability, Everybody Wins!
Student engineers and scientists competed for Best Sustainable Design at the Annual National Sustainable Design Expo.
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P3 Contestants
2009 Winners of EPA's P3 Award Announced
Teams of budding scientists and engineers from colleges and universities across the country gathered at the Fifth Annual National Sustainable Design Expo to showcase their innovative designs for advancing environmental sustainability.
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Students at the P3 competition
Students Team Up for Sustainability
Student projects ranging from developing a technology to make natural plastics from wastewater, to electrochemical remediation in rural Bangladesh are among the 2008 EPA P3 Award winners.
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Winning Ideas
Winning Ideas
"Green" dorms, biodiesel buses, and new ways to remove arsenic from groundwater are some of the winning projects from this year’s EPA P3 competition.
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Field of Corn
Field of Dreams
Thanks to EPA supported research, that clear plastic container holding your Brussels sprouts might be made of an edible plant itself — corn.
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Tea, Wine
Tea, Wine, and a Cleaner Environment
EPA scientists have developed innovative ways to produce nanoparticles using green chemistry rather than toxic chemicals.
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New Answers to Old Problems

Diagram of molecule chains
Providing Answers to Chemical Safety Concerns
EPA brings top scientists together to share information about perfluoroalkyl acids.
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An oil rig platform
Testing the Toxicity of Oil Spill Dispersants
EPA scientists support federal response to the BP oil spill.
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Rusted Barrels
Very Small Offers Big Cleanup Potential
EPA scientists are exploring ways to use some very small materials to clean up some very big environmental problems.
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Sustainable Communities

Office building
Green Investments: Supporting Green Chemistry Innovations
EPA's Small Business Innovation Research Program helps bring green chemistry benefits to the marketplace.
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A compass pointing north
Toward Sustainability: The True North of EPA Research
The Agency's focus on sustainability brings an integrated approach to research, partnerships, and seeking solutions to help society now—and in the future.
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Numbers in a column
Stimulating a Green and Growing Economy
EPA's Small Business Innovation Research Program supports innovative environmental technologies.
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A hand
Sparking Innovation to Meet Environmental and Human Health Challenges
EPA is invigorating its research efforts by tapping the collective vision and energy of its own scientists and engineers, as well as engaging others to join the discussion.
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A dream catcher
Tribal Science Council: From Indian Country to EPA Headquarters
EPA leaders ask Indian Tribes and Alaska Natives to identify their top environmental science priorities for inclusion in Agency science plans and projects.
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Bedbugs
EPA Co-Hosts National Bed Bug Summit to Address the Return of a Pest
EPA provides citizens with information about how to protect themselves from bed bugs.
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Ice along the beach
Healthy Ecosystems Support International Peace and Security
EPA researchers played key roles in an international workshop and book on the relationship between the environment and worldwide human welfare.
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Rain barrel collecting water from a drainspout
Can Rain Barrels and Gardens Help Keep Sewage in the Sewers?
EPA researchers investigate how well rain barrels and rain gardens retain stormwater and how to motivate the public to adopt these "green" practices.
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EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson
Environmental Justice: What's Science Got to Do With It?
EPA researcher describes new research efforts to better understand the link between environmental health and justice.
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Drawing of a plane and satallite over a corn field
Protecting Genetically-Modified Corn Crops with Proactive, High-Tech Monitoring
EPA researchers and collaborators are developing remote observation techniques for monitoring genetically modified crops.
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Human Community

apprenticeship
The Research Apprenticeship Program Celebrates 20 Years of Success
EPA and Shaw University team up to engage students in science, math, and engineering.
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virtual embryo
The Virtual Embryo Project
EPA researchers are developing a "Virtual Embryo" that will provide insights into how exposures to chemicals in the environment might affect the developing embryo.
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Children's Environmental Health Centers
Children's Environmental Health Centers
EPA and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences support a network of research centers to improve children's health and prevent disease.
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The National Children's Study
The National Children's Study
EPA researchers help lead the largest federal study ever undertaken to examine environmental influences on the health and development of children.
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Traditional Lifestyle Meets Modern Problem
Traditional Lifestyle Meets Modern Problem
EPA researchers work with the Penobscot Indian Tribe to examine the links between traditional practices and health risks from environmental contamination.
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A researcher examining a bird
Biodiversity and Human Health: Exploring the Links.
EPA scientists and partners examine the links between biodiversity and human disease
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trees
Is Biodiversity Good for Our Health?
EPA scientists and partners examine the links between biodiversity and human disease
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feet on a scale
Environment and Obesity: Looking for Links
EPA releases HERO database, providing transparent access to scientific studies used in making decisions to protect the environment and human health.
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Natural Community

Soil
The Dirt on Contaminated Soil
EPA researchers are working to help environmental managers know when soil exposure is a health risk and not just a cosmetic issue.
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Listening to the Loons
Listening to the Loons
The distinctive, almost-haunting call of the common loon is to New England what the howl of the wolf is to the American West: it's the sound of wilderness.
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More Green for the Green
More Green for the Green
With an assist from EPA scientists, officials with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources developed a scientific strategy to protect the state's "green infrastructure."
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Zebra Mussels
Predicting Invasive Species in the Great Lakes
EPA releases new report predicting invasive species in Great Lakes
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crabs and fish
Safe Harbors
The horror stories are becoming all too common: kudzu covering every tree, power line, and telephone pole.
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Winter Flounder
Reading Flounder
Read any good flounder lately? Scientists at EPA's Atlantic Ecology Laboratory are studying how to "read" winter flounder in order to better protect the species and its habitat.
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New Zealand Mudsnail
Tiny Snail, Big Trouble?
EPA researchers recently discovered a potentially troublesome invader in Lake Superior: the New Zealand mudsnail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum).
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Waterfall
Healthy Looking Waterways
Looks can be deceiving. Over the past two decades, waters in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere have become more colored, due to increasing concentrations of dissolved organic carbon, or DOC. Read More
Old Mines, New Technology
Old Mines, New Technology
EPA researchers are developing ways to use tiny microbial organisms to clean up old, abandoned mines in the American West.
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Built Community

A house in need of repair
Getting Smarte
EPA's Sustainable Management Approaches and Revitalization Tools-electronic (SMARTe) helps communities plan for the future.
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Underground storage tank work
Every Move MTBE Makes
Finding a moving target can be difficult. Such is the case with chemicals from leaking underground storage tanks which can move in many ways into the ground and groundwater.
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Denver EPA's green roof building
Over the Top
The green roof on the EPA's regional headquarters in Denver is the focus of a research project exploring the environmental benefits of cultivating green roofs in high, semi-arid climates.
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Rain Garden
Network News
What do dental schools, rain gardens, and office parks have in common? They are all part of EPA's Collaborative Science and Technology Network for Sustainability (CNS).
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Wind Turbines with Barn
Sustainability: The Next Step
Today's EPA is working to help businesses and consumers become better stewards of the environment.
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Mapping the Future
ReVa: Mapping the Future
Forecasting the future has been made easier for environmental planners thanks to new Web-based tools developed by EPA's Office of Research and Development.
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Jordan
An American Engineer in Jordan
EPA engineer Thabet Talaymet is helping the Kingdom of Jordan end the environmental nightmares associated with the Russeifah landfill.
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Sustainable Water

Pier
Toward Sustainability: Building a Better Understanding of Ecosystem Services
EPA researchers and partners are conducting a major study of the Tampa Bay estuary and its surrounding wetlands to quantify how natural ecosystems support human welfare.
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A copper pipe with leaks
Problems with Pinhole Leaks in Your Copper Water Pipes
EPA scientists document, experiment, and research water chemistry to better understand the nature of pitting corrosion and pinhole leaks in copper water pipes.
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Cars in traffic
Little Streams, Big Impact
EPA researchers have been traversing Oregon to develop a small stream classification system that will help states protect water bodies far downstream.
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A natural gas drilling platform
Hydraulic Fracturing: Drilling for Answers
EPA researchers will study key aspects of the potential environmental and human health impacts of a technique used to drill for natural gas.
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Water Infrastructure

Water flows into the street
Aging Water Infrastructure
EPA researchers and engineers work to help communities deal with aging and failing drinking and wastewater systems.
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Parking lot
Parking Lots: Letting It Soak In
EPA researchers are experimenting with “green” parking lot designs and permeable pavement as a way to reduce runoff and improve water quality.
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rain in the city
Helping Cities Benefit from Green Infrastructure
EPA provides research and guidance on the incorporation of green infrastructure into Omaha's combined sewer overflow control plan.
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stormwater
Stormwater Calculator to Manage Rainfall Runoff
A new tool developed by EPA allows planners and property owners to assess how green infrastructure can be used to reduce rainwater runoff from development sites.
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stormwater
Showing Buried Streams the Daylight
EPA researchers compare buried and open-air streams for removing harmful nitrogen
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On the Coast

coral
Using Biological Criteria and the Clean Water Act to Protect Coral Reefs
EPA researchers recently published a manual describing how to protect coral reefs from land-based stressors.
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Researchers working in the Delaware estuary
RARE Partnership Explores Delaware Estuary
EPA scientists and collaborators complete the first inventory and characterization of benthic communities in the Delaware estuary.
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EPA responds to the BP Oil Spill
Science to Support EPA's Response to the BP Oil Spill
EPA scientists and engineers are supporting the coordinated response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
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Easy as 1-2-3
Checking the Health of Wetlands: Easy as 1-2-3
To check a patient's health, physicians use simple blood pressure tests to sophisticated and expensive diagnostics. Natural resource managers also have a variety of assessment tools ranging in complexity, accuracy and cost at their disposal to check the health of wetlands.
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EPA Ecology Group
EPA Ecology Group Makes Big Splash
To protect and manage coastal areas, home to over half the U.S. population, the Environmental Protection Agency produces the National Coastal Condition Report.
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New Bedford Waterfront
What Story Does Your Waterfront Tell?
Highly degraded urban areas have a story to tell. The actions that drive urbanization create an accumulation of impacts, some irreversible.
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earth
The Big Picture: The Integrated Ocean Observing System
EPA scientists are partners in this major new effort to monitor and protect our Coastal, Marine, and Great Lakes environments.
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Rivers and Streams

Man fishing
What's Wrong with Your Stream? Ask CADDIS!
EPA's on-line tool to help scientists, engineers, watershed managers, and others identify the potential causes of trouble in their local waterways.
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stream
Helping Streams Help Themselves
A stream in Towson, Maryland, is where EPA scientists are learning to apply engineering techniques to help urban waterways.
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river
EPA Finds a Way
EPA scientists are developing the protocols and tools needed to assess the nation’s large rivers and streams.
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Watersheds

stream
What's Ailing Your Stream? CADDIS Can Help You Find Out
EPA researchers have updated an online tool that helps scientists from states and tribes find out what's harming plant and animal life in streams, rivers, and wetlands.
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A mountain top mine
EPA Science on Mountaintop Mining
Researchers release two scientific reports to support Agency’s new guidance for mountaintop mining.
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Researchers in the Experimental Stream Facility
Streams of Science
EPA scientists use a unique Experimental Stream Facility to explore the health of stream ecosystems and watersheds.
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A Road Runs Through It
A Road Runs Through It
Where does your rain fall? EPA engineers are developing a tool for estimating the amount of impervious cover in local watersheds.
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mussel
EPA Scientist Mussels Up
Where does your rain fall? EPA engineers are developing a tool for estimating the amount of impervious cover in local watersheds.
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Human Health Risk Assessment

NexGen logo
Embracing Change: The Next Generation of Risk Assessment
EPA develops new risk assessment practices to match pace of scientific innovations.
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A Helping Hand for Children's Health
A Helping Hand for Children's Health
EPA's "Highlights of the Child Specific Exposure Factors Handbook" is a great resource for children's health experts.
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hand in filing cabinet
New Database Streamlines EPA Science Assessments
EPA STAR Fellow Alum Joins Office of Science and Technology Policy.
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Three people talking
Putting Communities First
Community-Focused Exposure and Risk Screening Tool, or C-FERST, is a Web-based tool under development that can empower environmental managers and residents of communities to make decisions about environmental issues specific to their area.
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Homeland Security Research

Peter Jutro, Cynthia Sonich-Mullin, Gregory Sayles, Jonathan Herrmann.
Homeland Security Research Program: Directors' Roundtable
Science Matters (SM) sat down with program leaders from EPA's Homeland Security Research Program to talk about the Agency's scientific and technical roles and responsibilities supporting national security.
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Emergency Response Vehicle
Interagency Collaboration Tests Response to Anthrax Contamination
If millions of lethal and microscopic spores were released in a building, what would we do? How would we clean up such a dangerous mess? A collaborative effort co-led by EPA's Homeland Security Research Program and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) aims to uncover the best answer to that question.
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Decontamination technology
Post Amerithrax: Advancing the Science and Engineering of Decontamination
EPA scientists are developing and evaluating decontamination technologies to inactivate lethal bacteria such as anthrax.
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Toxic Art
From Disaster to Recovery: Waste Management Planning and Response
EPA scientists develop innovative tools to assist decision-makers manage wastes from natural and man-made disasters.
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Scientist with lab sample
Standing By: EPA Helps Nation's Laboratories Prepare for Emergency Response Operations
Fast, accurate laboratory analysis can be critical. Determining the type and extent of contamination in the aftermath of a terrorist incident is essential for informing emergency response, recovery and remediation operations.
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Water Tower
Enhancing Water Security: EPA Prepares for Intentional Contamination Incidents
EPA scientists make a variety of tools available to drinking water managers to help them keep water safe and secure.
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Drinking Water
EPA Examines Ways to Treat Biotoxins in Drinking Water
Since 1854, when Dr. Snow first traced a cholera epidemic to a public water supply in London, England health officials and researchers have been working to protect the quality and safety of drinking water.
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PALS Diagram
Developing Advisory Levels to Guide Recovery Actions
EPA researchers are leading the development of health-based emergency exposure advisory levels to help inform and advise communities and emergency response professionals while they recover from a chemical incident or attack.
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EPA and Soviet Scientists
EPA Microbiologists Provide Environmental Technology Guidance to Former Soviet Weapons Scientists
Since 2001, EPA scientists have been working through the BioChem Redirect Program to help former Soviet weapons scientists in Kazakhstan pursue more peaceful ends.
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An anthrax decontamination site
Building Partnerships for Decontaminating Anthrax
EPA Homeland Security researchers supported Agency efforts to decontaminate buildings affected by anthrax in New England—twice.
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Glass filling with tap water
Homeland Security: Keeping an Eye on Our Drinking Water Supply
EPA researchers test commercial, readily-available water sensors for use in early warning systems for detecting biological and chemical contaminants in drinking water.
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EPA emergency response vehicle
Liberty RadEx Drill Helps Nation Prepare for ‘Dirty Bomb’
EPA scientists helped plan and support major simulation of testing, clean up, and recovery phases following a deliberate radiation attack.
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