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United States Environmental Protection Agency
Water Science
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Water Quality Models

Basic Information

Water quality models are a tool for simulating the movement of precipitation and pollutants from the ground surface through pipe and channel networks, storage treatment units and finally to receiving waters. Both single-event and continuous simulation may be performed on catchments having storm sewers and natural drainage, for prediction of flows, stages and pollutant concentrations. Each water quality model has it's own unique purpose and simulation characteristics and the reader is advised to thoroughly review downloading and data input instructions for each model.

EPA Supported Models

  • BASINS: A Powerful Tool for Managing Watersheds
    A multi-purpose environmental analysis system that integrates a geographical information system (GIS), national watershed data, and state-of-the-art environmental assessment and modeling tools into one convenient package.

  • AQUATOX: A Simulation Model for Aquatic Ecosystems
    AQUATOX is a freshwater ecosystem simulation model. It predicts the fate of various pollutants, such as nutrients and organic toxicants, and their effects on the ecosystem, including fish, invertebrates, and aquatic plants. AQUATOX is a valuable tool for ecologists, water quality modelers, and anyone involved in performing ecological risk assessments for aquatic ecosystems.

  • CORMIX for Mixing Zones
    A mixing zone model that can be used to assess water quality impacts from point source discharges at surface or sub-surface levels.

  • WASP6
    WASP6 is an enhanced version of the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program (WASP). This version runs more quickly than previous versions of WASP, and allows for graphical presentation of results. This version includes kinetic algorithms for
    1) eutrophication/conventional pollutants, 2) organic chemicals/metals, 3) mercury, and 4) temperation, fecal coliform, and conservative pollutants.

  • QUAL2K model is a river and stream water quality model that is intended to represent a modernized version of the QUAL2E (or Q2E) model (Brown and Barnwell 1987).

  • EPA Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling
    The Center for Exposure Assessment Modeling (CEAM) was established in 1987 to meet the scientific and technical exposure assessment needs of the United States Environmental Protection Agency as well as state environmental and resource management agencies. CEAM provides proven predictive exposure assessment techniques for aquatic, terrestrial, and multimedia pathways for organic chemicals and metals.

  • Council for Regulatory Environmental Modeling (CREM) Models Knowledge Base

  • EPA Watershed/Water Quality Modeling Technical Support Center
    The Watershed/Water Quality Modeling Technical Support Center assists EPA Regions, State and Local Governments, and their contractors by providing access to technically defensible tools and approaches that can be used to develop Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs), wast load allocations, and watershed protection plans. The Center also provides a pathway for bringing ORD research efforts into "real world" applications.

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Other federal government supported models

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Technical Guidance for Models

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 Model training and meetings

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Wastewater Management | Drinking Water | Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds

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