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MARKET INCENTIVES AND NONPOINT SOURCES: AN APPLICATION OF TRADABLE CREDITS TO URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
Thurston*, H. W., H C. Goddard, B Lemberg**, AND D C. Szlag*. MARKET INCENTIVES AND NONPOINT SOURCES: AN APPLICATION OF TRADABLE CREDITS TO URBAN STORMWATER MANAGEMENT. Presented at EPA Science Forum 2002: Meeting the Challenges, Washington, DC, May 01 - 02, 2002.
To inform the public.
Excess stormwater runoff can cause serious pollution, habitat degradation and flooding in cities where growth in impervious surface area (such as pavement, buildings, etc.) has created a situation where stormwater runoff routinely exceeds the normal capacity of natural and constructed water catchments. Infrastructure capacity shortfalls derive from a general unwillingness to build expensive plants with sufficient peak capacity to treat all sanitary and stormwater flows. Low cost alternatives exist, utilizing dispersed runoff detention structures (best management practices, or BMPs) on private properties, but no clear coordinating mechanism has yet been identified for regional stormwater management authorities to deploy these cost-effectively. In this poster, we demonstrate how a watershed-based system of tradable credits would promote distribution of such low cost investments through market activity, using a pilot study watershed in the Cincinnati, OH area. We also give preliminary estimates of potential cost savings in stormwater management for the pilot area from trading. This unique analysis strongly suggests that there is potential for credit trading both to substantially lower the cost of stormwater control and to be an integral part of the solution for restoring and preserving the ecological function of urban streams.