Water Quality Trading in the Lower Delaware River Basin: A Resource for Practitioners

Scatena, F. N., Curley, D., Laskowski, S., Abbot, K., Barkin, H., Shieh, W., and Johson, J. (2005). "Water Quality Trading in the Lower Delaware River Basin: A Resource for Practitioners." Institution of Environmental Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

This document addresses technical and administrative issues related to the establishment of water quality trading (WQT) systems in the Lower Delaware River (LDR) Basin and is based on a series of workshops, public seminars, and analysis conducted in 2005. The report is designed for practitioners interested in developing WQT systems and provides a series of specific recommendations and steps to promote the development of WQT in the area. Pollutant trading systems allow dischargers to obtain environmental protection in an economically-efficient manner by substituting, or trading, inexpensive controls at one location for expensive controls elsewhere. Although pollutant trading has been discussed for decades, there are few WQT systems operating in the United States and none have a long track record. Those that are in operation are limited in scope and were initiated by state, federal, or private funding. Nevertheless, WQT is expected to increase in the future and has already created incentives for dischargers to examine their operations and reduce their discharges beyond what the conventional methods would provide.