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Active Data Retrieval (ADR) is the ability to retrieve data from a secure server.

Air Quality Subsystem (AQS) is EPA's repository of ambient air quality data.



Confidential Business Information (CBI) is material that contains trade secrets or commercial or financial information that has been claimed as confidential by its source (e.g. a pesticide or new chemical formulation registrant). EPA has special procedures for handling such information.

The Central Data Exchange (CDX) is the point of entry on the Exchange Network for environmental data submissions to EPA.

Cross-Media Electronic Reporting Regulation (CROMERR) provides the legal framework for electronic reporting under all of EPA's environmental regulations.


Data Exchange
Data exchange is the movement of data among organizations, or between processes and data stores within an organization.

Data Standard
A data standard depicts the required content and format in which particular types of data are to be presented and exchanged. Exchange Network partners are strongly encouraged to use data standards that have been approved by the Environmental Data Standards Council (EDSC).

Data Element
A data element is the smallest unit of information stored in and exchanged among Exchange Network partners' information systems. Examples of data elements are the facility name, latitude, longitude and inspection date.

Data Exchange Template
A data exchange template is a standardized format that identifies the types of information required or allowed in a particular document or data exchange. Data exchange templates contain no data, but they define the format for exchange according to data standards and trading partner agreements.

Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMR) are reports generated by permittees regulated under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and contain information pertaining to the self-monitoring of discharges into waters regulated under the Clean Water Act (CWA). These reports must be approved by EPA and states.

Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) is an Internet access method for high-speed data transfer over telephone lines.


Environmental Council of States (ECOS) Exit EPA Disclaimer is a national non-profit, non-partisan association of state and territorial environmental agency leaders. The purpose of ECOS is to improve the capability of state environmental agencies and their leaders to protect and improve human health and the environment of the United States of America.

The Environmental Data Standards Council (EDSC) Exit EPA Disclaimer developed environmental data standards to promote the exchange of information among states, tribes, territories and EPA. The functions of the EDSC are now contained within the ENLC.

An Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) is the inter-organizational, computer-to-computer exchange of structured information in a standard format.

The Exchange Network Leadership Council guides the development of the Exchange Network and is responsible for policies and strategic direction, as well as providing leadership for the Network. For current members of the ENLC, please see the Governance page.


Flow Configuration Documents (FCDs)
FCDs identify and standardize the minimum information needed by trading partners to execute a data exchange. They describe the technical configuration and business processes used to exchange data between trading partners.

The Facility Registry System (FRS) is a centrally managed database that identifies facilities, sites or places subject to environmental regulations or of environmental interest.

File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is the simplest way of transferring files between computers or the Internet. It is a protocol that describes file transfers between a host and a remote computer.

Fully Functional Node
A fully functional Node can submit and request data from other Nodes, as well as respond or publish data from other Nodes using Web services.


Geospatial Data
Geospatial data identifies, depicts or describes geographic locations, boundaries or characteristics of Earth's inhabitants or natural or human-constructed features. Geospatial data include geographic coordinates (e.g., latitude and longitude) that identify a specific location on the Earth; and data that are linked to geographic locations or have a geospatial component (e.g., socio-economic data, land use records and analyses, land surveys, homeland security information, environmental analyses). Geospatial data may be obtained using a variety of approaches and technologies, including things such as surveys, satellite remote sensing, Global Position System (GPS) hand-held devices, and airborne imagery and detection devices.

Geospatial Technologies
Geospatial technologies include the computer hardware and software that are commonly used to collect, import, store, manipulate, analyze and display digital geospatial data. These technologies include global positioning systems (GPS), remote sensing, and visualization systems.



Interim Data Exchange Format (IDEF) provides state agencies with a stable data standard to build their systems. The standard will also provide EPA with a stable format from which to convert current Permit Compliance System (PCS) data, as well as pilot the re-engineered PCS data exchange approach.

Integrated Environmental Management Systems (IEMS) is a set of management tools and principles that allow companies to systematically manage their environmental and health safety matters.

State environmental agencies, organized through ECOS and EPA formed the State/EPA Information Management Workgroup (IMWG). Composed of senior leaders from EPA and state environmental agencies, the IMWG has initiated an approach to address joint information management.

Integrated Project Team
A group of individuals comprised of state and EPA staff, support contractors, and technology vendors organized to design and implement a specific data exchange.

Information technology (IT) is a term that encompasses all forms of technology used to create, store, exchange and utilize information in its various forms including business data, conversations, still images, motion pictures and multimedia presentations.



Network Administrator is the information technology professional responsible for setting up, maintaining and securing a computer network.

Network Authorization and Authentication Services
Network Authorization and Authentication Services (NAAS) are a set of centralized information security services that Exchange Network partners can use to authenticate and authorize their users. NAAS provides an efficient way for Exchange Network participants to exchange data with many trusted partners; without them each would have to authenticate and authorize each user themselves. All NAAS operations are conducted over a Secure Socket Layer (SSL) channel using 128-bit encryption.

Network Node Data Exchange
A network Node data exchange is a data exchange between two or more partners on the Exchange Network.

National Emissions Inventory (NEI) is a national database of air emissions information with input from numerous state and local air agencies, tribes and industry. These data are used for air dispersion modeling, regional strategy development, regulation-setting, air toxics risk assessment, and tracking trends in emissions over time.

National Environmental Performance Partnership System (NEPPS) is a performance-based system of environmental protection designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state-EPA partnerships.

The Network Operations Board oversees the Exchange Network’s shared infrastructure. The membership identifies, prioritizes and resolves Network operations issues, and acts as a clearinghouse for all Network Operations issues. For current members of the NOB, please see the Governance page.

A Node is a Web server (hardware with appropriate software) that provides a point for exchanging information over the Internet. Exchange Network Nodes can gain access to and transmit information using Web services. In order to achieve interoperability among Nodes, all Nodes must be set up according to Exchange Network specifications. Specifications and protocols for building a functioning Exchange Network Node are available on the Exchange Network Web site Exit EPA Disclaimer. A Node is a point of interaction between participants on the Exchange Network, and is a collection of specific technical and policy components that are utilized to provide and receive information via the Exchange Network.

Node Client
A Node client is a Node that can only request or submit data to the Network using Web services. A Node client cannot respond to requests for data from other Nodes.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is permit program that controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States.

The Network Partnership and Resources Group (NPRG) is responsible for policy and resource planning. It is a chartered subgroup of the ENLC.

The Network Technology Group (NTG) oversees day-to-day operations and technical support of the Exchange Network, including the help desk and registry. It is a chartered subgroup of the ENLC.



The Permit Compliance System (PCS) provides information on companies which have been issued permits to discharge waste water into rivers.

A Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) enables users of a basically unsecure public network such as the Internet to securely and privately exchange data and money through the use of a public and a private cryptographic key pair that is obtained and shared through a trusted authority.

A portal is a Web site that is a gateway to other Web sites on the Internet and World Wide Web. Typically, a portal offers a search engine and/or links to useful pages, news or other services.

One of the main ways that EPA and individual states implement the principles of performance partnerships on the ground is by negotiating Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs).

Performance Partnership Grants (PPG) are combined environmental grants from states and certain interstate agencies that can choose to combine two or more environmental program grants into a single PPG.



Hazardous waste information is contained in the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Information (RCRAInfo), a national program management and inventory system about hazardous waste handlers.


An XML schema defines the structure of an XML document. An XML schema defines things such as which data elements and attributes can appear in a document; how the data elements relate to one another; whether an element is empty or can include text; which types of data are allowed for specific data elements and attributes; and what the default and fixed values are for elements and attributes. A schema is also a description of the data represented within a database. The format of the description varies but includes a table layout for a relational database or an entity-relationship diagram. It is method for specifying constraints on XML documents. Please see www.exchangenetwork.net for specific Exchange Network schema.

A schematron is an open source application that can create an XSLT style sheet to validate XML documents by combining the XML schema and a file containing a set of business rules. The XSLT style sheet is then used to validate the instance document and return a list of errors.

The Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS) contains information about public water systems and their violations of EPA's drinking water regulations.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) is a classification system developed by the US Department of Commerce to categorize business activities. SIC codes have been replaced by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

A Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a way for a program running in one kind of operating system (such as Windows 2000) to communicate with a program in the same or another kind of an operating system (such as Linux) by using the World Wide Web's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and its Extensible Markup Language (XML) as the mechanisms for information exchange.

A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is system for encrypting data sent over the Internet, including e-commerce transactions and passwords. With SSL, client and server computers exchange public keys, allowing them to encode and decode their communication.

STORET (short for STOrage and RETrieval) is a repository for water quality, biological and physical data and is used by state environmental agencies, EPA and other federal agencies, universities, private citizens and many others.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the standard communications protocol (language) required for computers on the Internet.

Technical Infrastructure
Software, hardware, and protocols used by the Network.

One of the important supporting elements of the Network is the Trading Partner Agreement (TPA). A TPA is a written agreement that defines, for specific data exchanges, the partners' individual and joint responsibilities in stewardship, security and other items essential for the effective exchange of information between two or more trading partners on the Network. In short, TPAs document and formalize the processes for managing the flow of information across the Network. They may apply to exchanges initiated by the sender or those initiated at the request of the receiver. Network partners may agree upon a TPA for each information data exchange.

Trading Partner Agreement Markup Language.

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups as well as federal facilities.

The Toxics Release Inventory - Made Easy (TRI-ME) software is a tool to help facilities determine and complete their Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) section 313 (TRI) reporting obligations.

TSCA Test Submissions (TSCATS) Database is a publicly accessible database that provides reference to studies submitted under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).


EPA uses the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Regulation (UCMR) program to collect data for contaminants suspected to be present in drinking water, but that do not have health-based standards set under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).

Universal Description Discovery and Integration (UDDI) is a directory model for Web services. UDDI is a specification for maintaining standardized directories of information about Web services, and recording their capabilities, location and requirements in a universally recognized format. Seen with SOAP and WSDL as one of the three foundation standards of Web services.


A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a private communications network existing within a shared or public network platform (e.g., the Internet).


Web Form
A Web form is a standard interface that can be downloaded from the Internet. A Web form contains text boxes for a user to enter data. Users can then submit the form (e.g., environmental reports) to the receiver.

Web Publishing
Web Publishing is a term that refers to using Web services as a query mechanism against local databases. These data services publish databases as Web services in an XML format. Once these data services are deployed, they can be used in a number of ways such as populating Web sites, synchronizing data between sites, viewing data in a Web service client, or building new sources of data into an integrated application. In other words, Web publishing is a specific subset of the many possible types of Web services. Other Web service types include data submission, security, quality assurance, notification and status.

Web Services
Web services are automated information services that are conducted over the Internet, using standardized technologies and formats/protocols that simplify the exchange and integration of large amounts of data over the Internet. They make it easier to conduct work across organizations regardless of the types of operating systems, hardware/software, programming languages, and databases that are being used.

Web Services Description Language (WSDL) is an XML-based language used to describe the services a business offers and to provide a way for individuals and other businesses to access those services electronically.


Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a flexible language for creating common information formats and sharing both the format and content of data over the Internet and elsewhere. XML is a formatting language recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). For guidance on the development of XML schema for the Exchange Network, see the Exchange Network Web site Exit EPA Disclaimer.

XML Query Language (XQL) is a way to locate and filter the elements (data fields) and text in an Extensible Markup Language (XML) document. XML files are used to transmit collections of data between computers on the Web. XQL provides a tool for finding and/or selecting out specific items in the data collection in an XML file or set of files.



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