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Non-Market Valuation of Water Quality along the Ohio River

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Abstract:

The Ohio River is an important geographical feature of the Midwest, in a hydrological as well as an economic sense. It is the largest tributary of the Mississippi River and approximately 8% of the U.S. population or 25 million people live within the Ohio River basin, while over 3.6 million of the 25 million live in cities or towns immediately adjacent to the river. Apart from supporting economic activity, the Ohio River is also an important site of riparian recreation. Even though the Ohio River is a thriving center of economic and recreational activity, it also has its share of problems. Unsafe levels of PCBs and dioxins, excess nitrogen and phosphorus from non-point sources and combined sewer overflows from urban communities have rendered one-third of the river unfit for contact recreation due to high bacterial levels. The Wet Weather Improvement Plan by the Municipal Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati aims to reduce the sewer overflows through infrastructure upgrade by 2029 at an estimated cost of 1.9 billion, most of which will be offset by increasing sewer rates in Hamilton County, Ohio. This study, conducted with the support of Rivers Unlimited, a non-profit organization which seeks to protect and restore Ohio's rivers and funded by a grant from the Municipal Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati, examines the feasibility of the program through a cost-benefit approach. The study measures the willingness of the residents in the Greater Cincinnati area to pay for improved water quality in the Ohio River watershed using contingent valuation method and a possible increase in property values using the hedonic pricing method.
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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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