A Retrospective Assessment of the Costs of the Clean Water Act:1972 to 1997
This study assesses the costs imposed on society by the Clean Water Act in the period 1972-1997. The report points ouft that some of the costs that are currently being incurred to reduce water pollution would have existed even without the CWA. Although the CWA established a discharge permit system and provided significant federal financial assistance for constructing public treatment facilities, significant public and private investments in water pollution control existed prior to 1972. These expenditures would most likely have continued to grow after 1972 even if the CWA had not been enacted. Therefore, the approach taken in this study is to, not only estimate recent nationwide costs of water pollution abatement (WPA), but also to simulate and deduct from these estimates the WPA costs that would have been incurred without the CWA.
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