Models, Tools, and Databases for Land and Waste Management Research


  • Two-Dimensional Subsurface Flow, Fate and Transport of Microbes and Chemicals (2DFATMIC) Model 
    2DFATMIC simulates subsurface flow, transport, and fate of contaminants that are undergoing chemical or biological transformation. The model is applicable to transient conditions in both saturated and unsaturated zones. The flow module is a Galerkin finite element solution of Richard's equation. The transport module is a hybrid Lagrangian-Eulerian approach with an adapted zooming and peak capturing algorithm. This model can almost eliminate spurious oscillation, numerical dispersion, and peak clipping due to advective transport.
  • Three-Dimensional Subsurface Flow, Fate and Transport of Microbes and Chemicals (3DFATMIC) Model 
    3DFATMIC simulates subsurface flow, transport, and fate of contaminants which are undergoing chemical and/or biological transformations. The model is applicable to transient conditions in both saturated and unsaturated zones. The flow module is a Galerkin finite element solution of Richard's equation. The transport module is a hybrid Lagrangian-Eulerian approach with an adapted zooming and peak capturing algorithm. This model can almost eliminate spurious oscillation, numerical dispersion, and peak clipping due to advective transport.
  • BIOCHLOR, Natural Attenuation Decision Support System
    BIOCHLOR is a screening model that simulates remediation by natural attenuation of dissolved solvents at chlorinated solvent release sites. BIOCHLOR includes three different model types:
    • Solute transport without decay
    • Solute transport with biotransformation modeled as a sequential first-order decay process
    • Solute transport with biotransformation modeled as a sequential first-order decay process with two different reaction zones (i.e., each zone has a different set of rate coefficient values)
  • BIOPLUME II, Computer Model of Two-Dimensional Contaminant Transport under the Influence of Oxygen Limited Biodegradation in Ground Water
    BIOPLUME II is a simulation that computes concentrations of dissolved hydrocarbon under the influence of oxygen-limited biodegradation in an aquifer. The model solves the solute transport equation for both hydrocarbon and oxygen, assumes an instantaneous reaction between oxygen and hydrocarbon, and combines the two plumes using the principle of superposition. Computations account for convection, dispersion, mixing, and biodegradation effects. Also, the program can simulate slow hydrocarbon plumes undergoing biodegradation and can simulate in situ biorestoration schemes such as the injection of oxygenated water. Moreover, the model can simulate re-aeration and anaerobic biodegradation as first-order decay in hydrocarbon concentrations.
    BIOPLUME III is a two-dimensional finite difference model for simulating the natural attenuation of organic contaminants in groundwater due to the processes of advection, dispersion, sorption, and biodegradation. Biotransformation processes are potentially important in the restoration of aquifers contaminated with organic pollutants. As a result, these processes require evaluation in remedial action planning studies associated with hydrocarbon contaminants.
  • BIOSCREEN, Natural Attenuation Decision Support System
    BIOSCREEN is a screening model that simulates remediation through natural attenuation of dissolved hydrocarbons at petroleum fuel release sites. The model is designed to simulate biodegradation by both aerobic and anaerobic reactions.
  • Exposure Model for Soil-Organic Fate and Transport (EMSOFT)
    The EMSOFT model can be used to determine concentrations of contaminants remaining in the soil over a given time (when the initial soil concentration is known); to quantify the mass flux (rate of transfer) of contaminants into the atmosphere over time; and to subsequently calculate contaminant air concentrations by inputting mass flux values into atmospheric dispersion models. EMSOFT can also calculate average chemical concentrations at a given depth over time.
  • FOOTPRINT: A Screening Model for Estimating the Area of a Plume Produced From Gasoline Containing Ethanol
    FOOTPRINT is a screening model used to estimate the length and surface area of benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX) plumes in groundwater, produced from a gasoline spill that contains ethanol. Ethanol has a potential negative impact on the natural biodegradation of BTEX compounds in groundwater. The primary objective of the software is to predict the increase in surface area of the plume of BTEX compounds or any other chemical of concern (COC) due to the presence of ethanol in groundwater.
  • Hydrologic Evaluation of Landfill Performance (HELP) Model
    The HELP model estimates water balances for landfills and other land disposal systems. The program models rainfall, runoff, infiltration, and other water pathways to estimate how much water builds up above each landfill liner. The model considers design parameters. It can incorporate data on vegetation; soil types; geosynthetic materials; initial moisture conditions; layer thicknesses; slopes; and drain spacing and liner placement.
  • Landfill Gas Emissions Model (LandGEM)
    LandGEM is an automated estimation tool with a Microsoft Excel interface that can be used to estimate emission rates for total landfill gas, methane, carbon dioxide, nonmethane organic compounds, and individual air pollutants from municipal solid waste landfills. This guide provides step-by-step guidance for using this software application, as well as an appendix containing background information on the technical basis of LandGEM. LandGEM can use either site-specific data to estimate emissions or default parameters if no site-specific data are available.
  • Modular 3-D Multi-Species Transport Model for Simulation of Advection, Dispersion, and Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Groundwater Systems (MT3D) Exit
    MT3D is a 3D solute transport model for simulation of advection, dispersion, and chemical reactions of dissolved constituents in groundwater systems. The model uses a modular structure similar to that implemented in MODFLOW. The modular structure makes it possible to independently simulate advection, dispersion, sink/source mixing, and chemical reactions without reserving computer memory space for unused options.
  • Multimedia Exposure Assessment Model (MULTIMED)
    MULTIMED is a one-dimensional, steady-state model used to predict the concentration of contaminants migrating from a waste disposal facility via the subsurface, surface water, and air pathways to receptor sites.
  • Nonaqueous-Phase Liquid (NAPL) Simulator
    NAPL Simulator conducts a simulation of the contamination of soils and aquifers that results from the release of organic liquids commonly referred to as nonaqueous-phase liquids (NAPLS). The simulator is applicable to three interrelated zones: a vadose zone that is in contact with the atmosphere, a capillary zone, and a water-table aquifer zone.
  • Remediation Evaluation Model for Chlorinated Solvents (REMChlor)
    REMChlor is an analytical solution for simulating the transient effects of groundwater source and plume remediation. In the analytical method, the contaminant source model is based on a power-function relationship between source mass and source discharge, and it can consider partial source remediation at any time after the initial release.
  • Remediation Evaluation Model for Fuel Hydrocarbons (REMFuel)
    REMFuel simulates the transient effects of groundwater source and plume remediation for fuel hydrocarbons. In the analytical method, the contaminant source model is based on a power function relationship between source mass and source discharge for multiple fuel constituents, and it can consider partial source remediation at any time after the initial release.
  • Three-Dimensional Finite Element Model of Water Flow Through Saturated-Unsaturated Media (3DFEMWATER) and Three-Dimensional Lagrangian-Eulerian Finite Element Model of Waste Transport Through Saturated-Unsaturated Media (3DLEWASTE)
    3DFEMWATER and 3DLEWASTE are related and can be used together to model flow and transport in three dimensional, variably-saturated porous media under transient conditions with multiple distributed and point sources/sinks. These models can be used to apply the assimilative capacity criterion to development of wellhead protection areas.
    The complexity of 3DFEMWATER/3DLEWASTE numerical models requires that they be used by experienced numerical modelers with strong background in hydrogeology. 3DFEMWATER is designed to simulate the movement of moisture through variably saturated porous media. 3DLEWASTE is designed to simulate solute transport through variably saturated porous media.
  • Vadose Zone Leaching (VLEACH)
    VLEACH is a one-dimensional, finite difference model for making preliminary assessments of the effects on groundwater from the leaching of volatile, sorbed contaminants through the vadose zone. The program models four main processes: liquid-phase advection, solid-phase sorption, vapor-phase diffusion, and three-phase equilibration.
  • WHPA
    A semi-analytical ground-water flow simulation program used for delineating capture zones in a wellhead protection area. The program consists of four computational modules (RESSQC, MWCAP, GPTRAC, MONTEC).

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In addition, a Geospatial Toolbox was developed in conjunction with this report. It provides links and short descriptions of a wide range of easily accessed data sets and analytical tools. The Geospatial Toolbox is currently provided on the Watershed Central Wiki website to keep the information current and to foster collaboration. 

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  • Biota Sediment Accumulation Factor Data Set (BSAF)
    BSAF is a data set of approximately 20,000 biota-sediment accumulation factors from 20 locations (mostly Superfund sites) for nonionic organic chemicals, e.g., PCBs, PCDDs, PCDFs, DDTs, PAHs, and pesticides. Fresh, tidal, and marine ecosystems are included in the data set, and species in the data set include fish and benthic species (e.g., lobster, crayfish, and benthic invertebrates). The purpose of the data set is fivefold:
    • Provide tools for evaluating the reasonableness of BSAFs from other locations,
    • Provide a tool for building a BSAF data set for locations of your interest,
    • Provide data for performing bounding assessments of risks for locations where limited or no bioaccumulation are available,
    • Permit inquiry into underlying relationships and dependences of BSAFs upon ecosystem conditions and parameters, and
    • Allow comparison of PCB, PCDD, and PCDF residues to residue-effects data download from PCBRes.
  • The Leaching Environmental Assessment Framework (LEAF) Exit
    LEAF is a collection of (1) four leaching methods; (2) data management tools, (3) geo-chemical speciation and mass transfer modeling; (4) quality assurance and control; and (5) integrated leaching assessment approaches. LEAF provides data to more accurately predict the source term for environmental release of Hg and other constituents of potential concern (COPCs) to either groundwater or surface water bodies. The integration of leaching results provides a site-specific or material-specific “source term” release for use in site or material management decisions for either use of disposal scenarios.
  • Landscape and Predictive Tools: Spatial Analysis for Environmental Assessment
    This tool describes how to incorporate a geospatial perspective into environmental monitoring, assessment, and management. It also provides basic information for using landscape and predictive tools for managers and scientists that are not trained geographers. The illustrated methods are useful for characterizing condition, determining causes of water quality conditions, and for estimating changes that could result from intervention and management. It draws upon readily accessible broad scale landscape information that is likely to be encountered during an assessment. (Expected release date August 2015)
  • Municipal Solid Waste Decision Support Tool Exit
    This tool allows communities and other stakeholders to evaluate the cost, life-cycle environmental tradeoffs, and societal aspects for current and future options that lead to more SMM of municipal solid “waste”. With a new streamlined user interface, the tool provides the user the ability to tailor the software to local conditions and priorities while reflecting current or forecasted changes in waste composition, management, and transportation. The tool is being used to identify more sustainable solutions for MSW management. In addition, several universities are using it in education to encourage more sustainable policy that evaluates the life-cycle environmental tradeoffs, energy flow analysis, full cost accounting, and societal aspects such as land usage and infrastructure priorities.
  • Net Zero
    Conserving water, reducing energy use, and eliminating solid waste can improve the environment, save money, and help communities become more sustainable and resilient. EPA researchers are helping by developing and implementing Net Zero strategies, approaches and technologies. Simply put, Net Zero means consuming only as much energy as produced, achieving a sustainable balance between water availability and demand, and eliminating solid waste sent to landfills. EPA's research will focus on pooling federal, state and local expertise and resources to make a positive impact on a grand scale while fostering economic growth and promoting citizen health and well-being.
    Under this cross-agency, transdisciplinary partnership, EPA scientists and engineers are working with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers, U.S. Geological Survey, Kansas State University, and private industry to identify and demonstrate innovative water technologies and approaches for achieving net zero goals on the Fort Riley, Kansas Army installation. Results and lessons learned should be available in 2016 to assist states that have specific quantitative goals of reducing energy and water use, and waste generation.
  • ProUCL
    The ProUCL software was developed to compute rigorous and defensible statistics and graphical tools to address environmental sampling and statistical needs for analyzing environmental data.
  • Supercomputer for Model Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation (SuperMUSE)
    SuperMUSE enhances quality assurance in environmental models and applications. With SuperMUSE, EPA can now better investigate new and existing uncertainty analysis (UA) and sensitivity analysis (SA) methods. EPA can also more easily achieve UA/SA of complex, Windows-based environmental models, allowing scientists to conduct analyses that have, to date, been impractical to consider.
  • Visualizing Ecosystems for Land Management Assessments (VELMA) 
    VELMA predicts the effectiveness of alternative green infrastructure scenarios for protecting water quality, and also estimates potential ecosystem service co-benefits and tradeoffs. VELMA is a spatially distributed, eco-hydrological model that links a land surface hydrology model with a terrestrial biogeochemistry model for simulating the integrated responses of vegetation, soil, and water resources to interacting stressors. For example, VELMA can be used by states to analyze the effects of climate and land use on the capacity of ecosystems to provide clean water, flood protection, food and fiber, greenhouse gas regulation, habitat for fish and wildlife, and other services. VELMA is being linked to a variety of other models – fish and wildlife populations, air quality, among others – to support comprehensive environmental decision-making. Current applications include an assessment of forest management strategies for improving salmon habitat in the Pacific Northwest, and identification of rangeland prescribed burning strategies for balancing ecological, economic and human health tradeoffs for rural and urban stakeholders in the Central Great Plains. 


  • ECOTOX Database 
    ECOTOX summarizes in vivo toxicity of individual chemicals to aquatic and terrestrial organisms; to be incorporated into larger toxicology databases.
    Research question: How can I find data to help assess the toxicity of chemicals to aquatic life, terrestrial plants and wildlife?
  • PCB Residue Effects Database (PCBRes)
    The PCBRes database to assist scientists and risk assessors in correlating PCB and dioxin-like compound residues with toxic effects. The purpose is to develop PCB critical residue values for fish, mammals and birds, especially as these relate to aquatic and aquatic-dependent species. This database also includes expression of critical residue values based upon PCB Aroclors and total PCB-based congener specific methods because PCBs occur as complex mixtures.