2005 Progress Report: Using Market Forces to Implement Sustainable Stormwater Management

EPA Grant Number: X3832207
Title: Using Market Forces to Implement Sustainable Stormwater Management
Investigators: Middaugh, Jim , Shinn, Craig , Wahl, Mary
Current Investigators: Middaugh, Jim , Feighner, Gordon , Kliewer, Dave , Shinn, Craig , Vizzini, Dan , Wahl, Mary
Institution: City of Portland, OR , Portland State University
Current Institution: City of Portland
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: May 1, 2005 through December 31, 2008
Project Period Covered by this Report: May 1, 2005 through December 31, 2006
Project Amount: $288,000
RFA: Collaborative Science & Technology Network for Sustainability (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Sustainability , Nanotechnology , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


To address community, economic, and environmental concerns, Portland seeks to investigate the feasibility of preventative stormwater management approaches that, when combined with good science and hard engineering, could result in measurable environmental and economic benefits. Central to this effort is the evaluation of nontraditional market-based solutions that could help manage future stormwater system demands as Portland’s central city grows between 2011 and 2040.

The objective of this research project is to implement a trial program that will establish a marketplace in which private entities can exchange tradable credits for stormwater management. Specific project objectives have been broken down into three phases. Phase I has three defined tasks: identifying the capacity requirements and costs of building a traditional public stormwater management infrastructure; identifying the cost and effectiveness of various structural and nonstructural stormwater best management practices (BMPs); and analyzing the potential stormwater management capacity of a potential marketplace and the overall feasibility of implementing a trading system. Phase II will consist of developing a model trading system that focuses on improved watershed conditions and stormwater management. Phase III will attempt to implement and assess the performance of a trading system in three designated pilot areas.

Progress Summary:

The project will be implemented during a 3-year period from April 2005 to April 2008. An external consulting team is assisting with the feasibility study portion of the project (Phase I). This work will be completed during the winter of 2006. Work on subsequent phases will occur between December 2006 and April 2008.

The first major task of Phase I is complete, with a report having been generated detailing the projected capacity requirements and costs of future additions to the city’s public stormwater system for numerous development scenarios. The second task, identifying the cost and effectiveness of various BMPs for private stormwater management, is nearly complete. A draft report detailing the state of knowledge about the effectiveness of various stormwater BMPs in managing both stormwater volume and water quality has been completed by the City of Portland’s inhouse technical staff. The outside consultant team, a consultant who is not involved with the grant-funded project, the city’s Stormwater Advisory Committee, and members of the city’s Watershed Science Advisory Group are reviewing the report.

The consulting team is collaborating with city staff to begin the assessment of potential market capacity and feasibility of implementing a marketplace for private stormwater management. Detailed characterization of the three study areas is nearly complete. Aerial photos and a range of data layers have been assembled and mapped. Initial model runs that identify potential pollutant runoff (TSS) and basement flooding risk are complete for each of the three study areas. And, the project created and shared a set of draft criteria to inform the initial feasibility decision with the city’s stormwater utility leadership team.

Presentations about the project and progress to date have been made to various stakeholder groups, including Bureau management and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 10 staff.

Future Activities:

Plans are underway to develop a project update presentation, in the context of the city’s stormwater-related work, for the Portland City Council. Similarly, the project team expects to provide a briefing for the EPA staff during fall 2006. Finally, the project team is working with city public involvement staff to begin an outreach program to various stakeholder groups, including watershed councils, industry groups, neighborhood associations, and so forth.

Work in the coming months will focus on several components of the feasibility study. The consulting team will complete the analysis of BMP cost and effectiveness data and the evaluation of individual properties within the three pilot program areas. Each parcel in the different study areas will be evaluated to determine the likelihood and potential results of participation in a stormwater marketplace. Projected demand for stormwater services will be assessed, as will the overall capacity and cost of potential private stormwater management in each area. An assessment of the technical and economic feasibility of the stormwater marketplace trading system also will be drafted. Phase II is projected to be completed during the summer of 2007. Phase III will follow through the spring of 2008.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 2 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

watershed, combined sewer overflow, CSO, urban, TSS, stormwater trading, Pacific Northwest, Portland, Oregon, OR, water quality, water quality trading, tradable credits, BMP effectiveness,, RFA, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Urban and Regional Planning, Market mechanisms, market-based mechanisms, urbanization, sustainable stormwater management, sustainable development, sustainable water use, decision making, ecological design, conservation, sustainable urban environment, water conservation, best management practices, allowance allocation, allowance market performance, market-force, marketable permits

Relevant Websites:

http://www.portlandonline.com/bes/index.cfm?c=41949 Exit

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2006
  • 2007 Progress Report
  • Final