|Wetlands and Water Quality Trading: Review of Current Science and Economic Practices with Selected Case Studies (130 pp, 1.88 MB) (EPA/600/R-06/155) July 2007|
The study evaluates the technical, economic, and administrative aspects of establishing water quality trading (WQT) programs where the nutrient removal capacity of wetlands is used to improve water quality. WQT is a potentially viable approach for wastewater dischargers to cost-effectively comply with regulations and to improve water quality. The premise of WQT is that dischargers who cannot cost-efficiently reduce their effluent loads (i.e., high cost) may buy water quality from more cost-efficient (i.e., lower cost) dischargers. Such trades may include point source (PS) dischargers, nonpoint source (NPS) dischargers, or both. This study focuses on WQT programs that allow PS-NPS trades where wetlands are used to achieve the NPS discharge reductions. The report integrates the review of published peer-reviewed literature and data sources addressing the nutrient removal function of wetlands, WQT, and the review of four case studies of existing WQT programs. Findings are used to illustrate opportunities and challenges associated with using wetlands in NPS nutrient trades. Along with any resulting research, this study should provide a technical basis for USEPA to prioritize research and publish related information resources.
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