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
Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung
Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...
At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
05.01.2017 | Event News
18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences
18.01.2017 | Life Sciences