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Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Assessing and Managing Surface Water Pollution. This Research Investigates Effects of the Clean Water Act and Potential of Water Quality Trading to Decrease Surface Water Pollution

EPA Grant Number: FP917109
Title: Assessing and Managing Surface Water Pollution. This Research Investigates Effects of the Clean Water Act and Potential of Water Quality Trading to Decrease Surface Water Pollution
Investigators: Shapiro, Joseph S.
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Jones, Brandon
Project Period: September 1, 2010 through August 31, 2013
Project Amount: $111,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2010)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Water Quality: Hydrogeology and Surface Water

Description:

Objective:

This research investigates several questions about water pollution. First, what are the long-term trends in U.S. water quality? Second, what share of the trends is due to the Clean Water Act? Third, to what extent do Americans value clean surface waters? Finally, what is the potential of new regulatory mechanisms to decrease both ambient water pollution and abatement costs?

Synopsis:

This research investigates several questions about water pollution. First, what are long-term trends in U.S. water quality? Second, what share of the trends is due to the Clean Water Act? Third, to what extent do Americans value clean surface waters? Finally, what is the potential of new regulatory mechanisms to decrease both ambient water pollution and abatement costs?

Approach:

This analysis is compiling data on water quality, regulatory enforcement, and federal funding instituted under the Clean Water Act. It introduces new methods in environmental statistics to analyze how the Clean Water Act affects water quality. The analysis exploits idiosyncrasies in the location and timing of federal activities. The analysis also constructs a simulation to measure how redesigning water pollution regulations would affect water quality, abatement costs, and social welfare.

Expected Results:

This analysis will provide evidence on how the Clean Water Act affected surface water quality. It will also investigate how Americans value clean surface waters and thereby clarify the benefits of the Clean Water Act. Finally, it will investigate the potential benefits of new regulatory mechanisms for water pollution emissions.

Potential to Further Environmental/Human Health Protection:

Although the United States has invested tremendous levels of resources to improve surface water quality, roughly 40 percent of surface waters still violate standards for designated uses. This research will provide new evidence on the extent to which the Clean Water Act has improved water quality, on the potential benefits from improving water quality, and on potential improvements in water quality that could result from using new regulatory mechanisms.

Supplemental Keywords:

Clean Water Act, water quality, pollution regulations,

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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