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Water Quality Trading Model

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A significant number of watersheds throughout the country are approaching or already exceeding their allowable pollutant loading capacities, or Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). Watershed management is becoming an increasingly critical issue, especially with new TMDL regulations expected to be promulgated in the near future (probably, within the next year). It has been speculated that the new TMDL regulations will potentially impact the treatment costs significantly for both point and non-point source (NPS) dischargers because of the requirement of compliance with higher watershed water quality standards. It can be envisioned that it will be challenging for many industries to be in compliance with the future enforcement and yet maintain their business profitability. Thus, new watershed management procedures, including TMDL allocations and watershed pollutant trading, must be developed to address this issue, so that utilities, industries, and county governments can achieve economically sound development, and meet their water quality goals.

Watershed pollutant trading is not appropriate for all watersheds. Prior to initiating development of a trading program in a watershed, it is necessary to have a thorough understanding of the watershed specific problem(s) that need to be addressed, and whether market-based approaches are a likely solution to those problems. A computer model can facilitate in watershed data analysis and can help in understanding watershed specific problems and performing a feasibility study for conducting pollutant trading within a watershed. A computer model to evaluate of feasibility of water quality trading is presented and discussed in this paper.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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