An official website of the United States government.

We've made some changes to EPA.gov. If the information you are looking for is not here, you may be able to find it on the EPA Web Archive or the January 19, 2017 Web Snapshot.

Search Help

A few basics are important to keep in mind before you begin:

  • Searches are not case-sensitive. This means that searches for BMP and bmp will get the same results.
  • Be as specific as possible, using more than one word. For example, search for "travel authorization" rather than just "travel".
  • Put quotes around phrases.
  • Full text search, which searches the entire text of the documents for the query terms, is the default search using the Fusion search engine. More sophisticated searches can be performed by following the search tips listed below.
Search method Examples
Keyword Search wetlands, smog, lead, BMP
Phrase Search "total maximum daily loads"
"bed bugs"
"lead paint"
Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query.
Lead paint OR dust AND remediation NOT demolition

Field Searches

URL:water
DC.title:"hazardous waste"
DC.description:water regulations california

Wild Cards

Use a question mark (?)  to perform a single character wildcard search:
Te?t

Use asterisk (*) to perform a multiple character wildcard search:
Train*

Any combination of above

Use parenthesis to group clauses:

("Total Maximum daily load" OR TMDL) NOT DC.title:"Universal Soil Loss Equation"


  • There is no limit to the number of search keywords entered. The more keywords entered, the narrower the results / fewer results will be returned.

Top of Page


Phrase Search

  • If you want your results to include a specific phrase, put quotes around that phrase in your search query. If not enclosed in quotes, the search engine will search the words in a phrase individually. 
  • If you are searching for a URL, or part of a URL, put it in quotes.

Example: "Hydraulic Fracturing"​

Top of Page


Boolean Operators AND, OR, NOT

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query.

AND Operator

Use the AND operator to search for more than one term in your query, refining your results. Use this when you want both terms in your results, but not necessarily right next to each other as in a phrase search.

Example: retirement AND insurance, correspondence AND manual

OR Operator

If you want to search one term or another, use the OR operator, broadening your results.  By default Lucidworks Fusion inserts an OR between search terms.

Example: retirement AND insurance OR benefits 

NOT Operator

If you have too many results and would like to narrow your results by excluding documents containing a specific words or phrase, use NOT preceding the term or phrase you would like to exclude. Alternately you can use the minus sign (-). For example if you want to search on water pollution, but not get results for  water pollution tests, you can search:

Examples: "water pollution" NOT tests,  "correspondence manual" NOT awards

Note:Boolean operators must be ALL CAPS!

Top of Page


Field Search

Use a field search to look for a specific term or phrase in a specific field.

  • Preceding a query term with URL: will restrict the search results to documents containing the word in the url. Put the URL in quotes.

Example:  URL:"airnow.epa.gov"

  • Similarly, search for words in a page title by preceding the search terms with DC.title:

Example: DC.title:lead​ 

Note: Do not put a space between the colon and the next character.

Aside from URL: the fields that can be searched are based on EPA metadata tag fields: keywords, DC.title, DC.description, DC.type, etc.

Top of Page


Wildcard Searches

Lucidworks fusion supports wild card searches.

Use a question mark (?)  to perform a single character wildcard search

Example: Te?t

This search will return documents with text, test, etc. in them.

Use an asterisk (*)  to perform a  multiple character wildcard search. Multiple character woldcard search looks for 0 or more characters.

Example: Train*

This search will return documents with train, trains, training, trained, etc. in it.  You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.

  • Note: You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Top of Page