According to the study, nutrient credit trading—allowing polluters to purchase reductions from other sources to help meet pollution reduction goals—could result in a 20 to 80 percent decrease in cleanup costs, depending on implementation.
Urban stormwater systems, sewage treatment plants, farms and other pollution sources near the Bay are required to reduce their nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in accordance with the federal Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (the watershed pollution allowance).
The study, which was sponsored by the Chesapeake Bay Commission, estimates that nutrient credit trading could cut as much as $1 billion a year from the costs required to upgrade sewage treatment plants and control stormwater pollution. Millions more could be saved by allowing communities and developers to pay farmers to plant trees or create wetlands to offset pollution caused by growth and new development.
"Our goal was to investigate the potential cost savings that could be achieved when considering different nutrient trading scenarios applied to the watershed as a whole," said George Van Houtven, Ph.D., senior economist at RTI and lead author of the study. "Nutrient credit trading could deliver significant cost savings, which increase as more nutrient sources are allowed to participate in the program."
The study projected that nutrient credit trading could reduce projected costs for upgrading sewage plants by between 20 and 50 percent. Communities required to control their stormwater pollution might see as much as an 80 percent cost reduction if they are instead allowed to pay farmers to adopt conservation practices that would capture nutrients before they can reach waterways.
The researchers caution that actual savings would vary among individual river basins and states based on cleanup options and availability of trading.
"The emphasis on potential savings is important for interpreting the results of this study," Van Houtven said. "The estimates from our analysis represent the cost savings that could be achieved from trading under best-case conditions."
The potential savings are particularly high when including urban sources, due primarily to the relatively high cost of controlling nutrients from urban stormwater runoff. The study also found that including many sources of nutrient trading has a greater impact on potential cost savings than does expanding the geographic scope of trading.
To account for uncertainties in conservation practices and to protect local water quality, the study factored in several limitations to the nutrient credit trading process. These include requiring that farm conservation practices generate two pounds of nutrient credits for each single pound of credits needed from other sources, limiting the total volume of trades between segments of the Bay watershed, and increasing the cost of farm conservation measures to include the expense of monitoring and verifying performance.About RTI International
Jennifer Greer | Newswise Science News
Preservation of floodplains is flood protection
27.09.2017 | Technische Universität München
Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research