The definitions on this page originally appeared on the United States Environmental Protection Agency's website.
Identification Code or EPA I.D. Number: The unique code assigned to each generator, transporter, and treatment, storage, or disposal facility by regulating agencies to facilitate identification and tracking of chemicals or hazardous waste.
Ignitable: Capable of burning or causing a fire.
IM240: A high-tech, transient dynamometer automobile emissions test that takes up to 240 seconds.
Imhoff Cone: A clear, cone-shaped container used to measure the volume of settleable solids in a specific volume of water.
Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH): The maximum level to which a healthy individual can be exposed to a chemical for 30 minutes and escape without suffering irreversible health effects or impairing symptoms. Used as a "level of concern." (See: level of concern.)
Imminent Hazard: One that would likely result in unreasonable adverse effects on humans or the environment or risk unreasonable hazard to an endangered species during the time required for a pesticide registration cancellation proceeding.
Imminent Threat: A high probability that exposure is occurring.
Immiscibility: The inability of two or more substances or liquids to readily dissolve into one another, such as soil and water. Immiscibility The inability of two or more substances or liquids to readily dissolve into one another, such as soil and water.
Impermeable: Not easily penetrated. The property of a material or soil that does not allow, or allows only with great difficulty, the movement or passage of water.
Imports: Municipal solid waste and recyclables that have been transported to a state or locality for processing or final disposition (but that did not originate in that state or locality).
Impoundment: A body of water or sludge confined by a dam, dike, floodgate, or other barrier.
In Situ: In its original place; unmoved unexcavated; remaining at the site or in the subsurface.
In-Line Filtration: Pre-treattment method in which chemicals are mixed by the flowing water; commonly used in pressure filtration installations. Eliminates need for flocculation and sedimentation.
In-Situ Flushing: Introduction of large volumes of water, at times supplemented with cleaning compounds, into soil, waste, or ground water to flush hazardous contaminants from a site.
In-Situ Oxidation: Technology that oxidizes contaminants dissolved in ground water, converting them into insoluble compounds.
In-Situ Stripping: Treatment system that removes or "strips" volatile organic compounds from contaminated ground or surface water by forcing an airstream through the water and causing the compounds to evaporate.
In-Situ Vitrification: Technology that treats contaminated soil in place at extremely high temperatures, at or more than 3000 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Vitro: Testing or action outside an organism (e.g. inside a test tube or culture dish.)
In Vivo: Testing or action inside an organism.
Incident Command Post: A facility located at a safe distance from an emergency site, where the incident commander, key staff, and technical representatives can make decisions and deploy emergency manpower and equipment.
Incident Command System (ICS): The organizational arrangement wherein one person, normally the Fire Chief of the impacted district, is in charge of an integrated, comprehensive emergency response organization and the emergency incident site, backed by an Emergency Operations Center staff with resources, information, and advice.
Incineration: A treatment technology involving destruction of waste by controlled burning at high temperatures; e.g., burning sludge to remove the water and reduce the remaining residues to a safe, non-burnable ash that can be disposed of safely on land, in some waters, or in underground locations.
Incineration at Sea: Disposal of waste by burning at sea on specially-designed incinerator ships.
Incinerator: A furnace for burning waste under controlled conditions.
Incompatible Waste: A waste unsuitable for mixing with another waste or material because it may react to form a hazard.
Indemnification: In the pesticide program, legal requirement that EPA pay certain end-users, dealers, and distributors for the cost of stock on hand at the time a pesticide registration is suspended.
Indicator: In biology, any biological entity or processes, or community whose characteristics show the presence of specific environmental conditions. 2. In chemistry, a substance that shows a visible change, usually of color, at a desired point in a chemical reaction. 3.A device that indicates the result of a measurement; e.g. a pressure gauge or a moveable scale.
Indirect Discharge: Introduction of pollutants from a non-domestic source into a publicly owned waste-treatment system. Indirect dischargers can be commercial or industrial facilities whose wastes enter local sewers.
Indirect Source: Any facility or building, property, road or parking area that attracts motor vehicle traffic and, indirectly, causes pollution.
Indoor Air: The breathable air inside a habitable structure or conveyance.
Indoor Air Pollution: Chemical, physical, or biological contaminants in indoor air.
Indoor Climate: Temperature, humidity, lighting, air flow and noise levels in a habitable structure or conveyance. Indoor climate can affect indoor air pollution.
Industrial Pollution Prevention: Combination of industrial source reduction and toxic chemical use substitution.
Industrial Process Waste: Residues produced during manufacturing operations.
Industrial Sludge: Semi-liquid residue or slurry remaining from treatment of industrial water and wastewater.
Industrial Source Reduction: Practices that reduce the amount of any hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant entering any waste stream or otherwise released into the environment. Also reduces the threat to public health and the environment associated with such releases. Term includes equipment or technology modifications, substitution of raw materials, and improvements in housekeeping, maintenance, training or inventory control.
Industrial Waste: Unwanted materials from an industrial operation; may be liquid, sludge, solid, or hazardous waste.
Inert Ingredient: Pesticide components such as solvents, carriers, dispersants, and surfactants that are not active against target pests. Not all inert ingredients are innocuous.
Inertial Separator: A device that uses centrifugal force to separate waste particles.
Infectious Agent: Any organism, such as a pathogenic virus, parasite, or or bacterium, that is capable of invading body tissues, multiplying, and causing disease.
Infectious Waste: Hazardous waste capable of causing infections in humans, including: contaminated animal waste; human blood and blood products; isolation waste, pathological waste; and discarded sharps (needles, scalpels or broken medical instruments).
Infiltration: 1. The penetration of water through the ground surface into sub-surface soil or the penetration of water from the soil into sewer or other pipes through defective joints, connections, or manhole walls. 2. The technique of applying large volumes of waste water to land to penetrate the surface and percolate through the underlying soil. (See: percolation.)
Infiltration Gallery: A sub-surface groundwater collection system, typically shallow in depth, constructed with open-jointed or perforated pipes that discharge collected water into a watertight chamber from which the water is pumped to treatment facilities and into the distribution system. Usually located close to streams or ponds.
Infiltration Rate: The quantity of water that can enter the soil in a specified time interval.
Inflow: Entry of extraneous rain water into a sewer system from sources other than infiltration, such as basement drains, manholes, storm drains, and street washing.
Influent: Water, wastewater, or other liquid flowing into a reservoir, basin, or treatment plant.
Information Collection Request (ICR): A description of information to be gathered in connection with rules, proposed rules, surveys, and guidance documents that contain information-gathering requirements. The ICR describes what information is needed, why it is needed, how it will be collected, and how much collecting it will cost. The ICR is submitted by the EPA to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval.
Information File: In the Superfund program, a file that contains accurate, up-to-date documents on a Superfund site. The file is usually located in a public building (school, library, or city hall) convenient for local residents.
Inhalable Particles: All dust capable of entering the human respiratory tract.
Initial Compliance Period (Water): The first full three-year compliance period which begins at least 18 months after promulgation.
Injection Well: A well into which fluids are injected for purposes such as waste disposal, improving the recovery of crude oil, or solution mining.
Injection Zone: A geological formation receiving fluids through a well.
Innovative Technologies: New or inventive methods to treat effectively hazardous waste and reduce risks to human health and the environment.
Innovative Treatment Technologies: Technologies whose routine use is inhibited by lack of data on performance and cost. (See: Established treatment technologies.)
Inoculum: 1. Bacteria or fungi injected into compost to start biological action. 2. A medium containing organisms, usually bacteria or a virus, that is introduced into cultures or living organisms.
Inorganic Chemicals: Chemical substances of mineral origin, not of basically carbon structure.
Insecticide: A pesticide compound specifically used to kill or prevent the growth of insects.
Inspection and Maintenance (I/M): 1. Activities to ensure that vehicles' emission controls work properly. 2. Also applies to wastewater treatment plants and other anti-pollution facilities and processes.
Institutional Waste: Waste generated at institutions such as schools, libraries, hospitals, prisons, etc.
Instream Use: Water use taking place within a stream channel; e.g., hydro-electric power generation, navigation, water quality improvement, fish propagation, recreation.
Integrated Exposure Assessment: Cumulative summation (over time) of the magnitude of exposure to a toxic chemical in all media.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM): A mixture of chemical and other, non-pesticide, methods to control pests.
Integrated Waste Management: Using a variety of practices to handle municipal solid waste; can include source reduction, recycling, incineration, and landfilling.
Interceptor Sewers: Large sewer lines that, in a combined system, control the flow of sewage to the treatment plant. In a storm, they allow some of the sewage to flow directly into a receiving stream, thus keeping it from overflowing onto the streets. Also used in separate systems to collect the flows from main and trunk sewers and carry them to treatment points.
Interface: The common boundary between two substances such as a water and a solid, water and a gas, or two liquids such as water and oil.
Interfacial Tension: The strength of the film separating two immiscible fluids (e.g. oil and water) measured in dynes per, or millidynes per centimeter.
Interim (Permit) Status: Period during which treatment, storage and disposal facilities coming under RCRA in 1980 are temporarily permitted to operate while awaiting a permanent permit. Permits issued under these circumstances are usually called "Part A" or "Part B" permits.
Internal Dose: In exposure assessment, the amount of a substance penetrating the absorption barriers (e.g. skin, lung tissue, gastrointestinal tract) of an organism through either physical or biological processes. (See: absorbed dose)
Interstate Carrier Water Supply: A source of water for drinking and sanitary use on planes, buses, trains, and ships operating in more than one state. These sources are federally regulated.
Interstate Commerce Clause: A clause of the U.S. Constitution which reserves to the federal government the right to regulate the conduct of business across state lines. Under this clause, for example, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may not inequitably restrict the disposal of out-of-state wastes in their jurisdictions.
Interstate Waters: Waters that flow across or form part of state or international boundaries; e.g. the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, or coastal waters.
Interstitial Monitoring: The continuous surveillance of the space between the walls of an underground storage tank.
Intrastate Product: Pesticide products once registered by states for sale and use only in the state. All intrastate products have been converted to full federal registration or canceled.
Inventory (TSCA): Inventory of chemicals produced pursuant to Section 8 (b) of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
Inversion: A layer of warm air that prevents the rise of cooling air and traps pollutants beneath it; can cause an air pollution episode.
Ion: An electrically charged atom or group of atoms.
Ion Exchange Treatment: A common water-softening method often found on a large scale at water purification plants that remove some organics and radium by adding calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide to increase the pH to a level where the metals will precipitate out.
Ionization Chamber: A device that measures the intensity of ionizing radiation.
Ionizing Radiation: Radiation that can strip electrons from atoms; e.g. alpha, beta, and gamma radiation. IRIS: EPA's Integrated Risk Information System, an electronic data base containing the Agency's latest descriptive and quantitative regulatory information on chemical constituents.
Irradiated Food: Food subject to brief radioactivity, usually gamma rays, to kill insects, bacteria, and mold, and to permit storage without refrigeration.
Irradiation: Exposure to radiation of wavelengths shorter than those of visible light (gamma, x-ray, or ultra- violet), for medical purposes, to sterilize milk or other foodstuffs, or to induce polymerization of monomers or vulcanization of rubber.
Irreversible Effect: Effect characterized by the inability of the body to partially or fully repair injury caused by a toxic agent.
Irrigation: Applying water or wastewater to land areas to supply the water and nutrient needs of plants.
Irrigation Efficiency: The amount of water stored in the crop root zone compared to the amount of irrigation water applied.
Irrigation Return Flow: Surface and subsurface water which leaves the field following application of irrigation water.
Irritant: A substance that can cause irritation of the skin, eyes, or respiratory system. Effects may be acute from a single high level exposure, or chronic from repeated low-level exposures to such compounds as chlorine, nitrogen dioxide, and nitric acid.
Isoconcentration: More than one sample point exhibiting the same isolate concentration.
Isopleth: The line or area represented by an isoconcentration.
Isotope: A variation of an element that has the same atomic number of protons but a different weight because of the number of neutrons. Various isotopes of the same element may have different radioactive behaviors, some are highly unstable..
Isotropy: The condition in which the hydraulic or other properties of an aquifer are the same in all directions.