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The U.S. Conference of Mayors Supports EPA's Water Quality Trading Policy at Annual Meeting with Urban Water Council Approval

Release Date: 09/12/2003
Contact Information:

Contact: Cathy Milbourn 202-564-7824 /

(09/12/03) In a Sept. 8 letter, the Urban Water Council and the U.S. Conference of Mayors announced their support of EPA’s Water Quality Trading Policy at their 71st Annual Meeting recently held in Denver. The resolution was approved by the Urban Water Council, the Environmental Committee and the 450 Mayors attending the annual meeting. Douglas H. Palmer, Mayor of Trenton, N.J., and David G. Wallace, Mayor of Sugar Land, Texas, applauded EPA for developing and adopting this policy.

“I am grateful to the U.S. Conference of Mayors for their strong leadership and commitment to the protection of our nation’s waters,” said G. Tracy Mehan, III, the EPA Assistant Administrator for Water. “This is the kind of support we need from governmental leaders who are on the front lines of the country’s battle to protect and restore our rivers, streams lakes and estuaries. Our Water Quality Trading Policy will result in cleaner water, at less cost and in less time.”

Water Quality Trading Policy is designed to cut industrial, municipal and agricultural discharges into the nation's waterways. The trading policy seeks to support and encourage states and tribes in putting into place programs that implement the requirements of the Clean Water and federal regulations in more flexible ways. This policy will help increase the pace and success of cleaning up impaired rivers, streams and lakes throughout the country and help reduce the cost of improving and maintaining the quality of the nation's waters.

Economic incentives are part of this policy by allowing one source to meet its regulatory obligations by using pollutant reductions created by another source that has lower pollution control costs. The standards remain the same, but efficiency is increased and costs are decreased. Under the policy, industrial and municipal facilities would first meet technology control requirements and then could use pollution reduction credits to make further progress towards water quality goals.

In order for a water quality trade to take place, a pollution reduction "credit" must first be created. EPA's water quality trading policy states that sources should reduce pollution loads beyond the level required by the most stringent water quality based requirements in order to create a pollution reduction "credit" that can be traded. For example, a landowner or a farmer could create credits by changing cropping practices and planting shrubs and trees next to a stream. A municipal wastewater treatment plant then could use these credits to meet water quality limits in its permit. For more information on the Water Quality Trading Policy, go to: http//