© 2014, The Author(s). A general description of the mathematical and numerical formulations used in modern numerical reactive transport codes relevant for subsurface environmental simulations is presented. The formulations are followed by short descriptions of commonly used and available subsurface simulators that consider continuum representations of flow, transport, and reactions in porous media. These formulations are applicable to most of the subsurface environmental benchmark problems included in this special issue. The list of codes described briefly here includes PHREEQC, HPx, PHT3D, OpenGeoSys (OGS), HYTEC, ORCHESTRA, TOUGHREACT, eSTOMP, HYDROGEOCHEM, CrunchFlow, MIN3P, and PFLOTRAN. The descriptions include a high-level list of capabilities for each of the codes, along with a selective list of applications that highlight their capabilities and historical development.