A Benefits Assessment of Water Pollution Control Programs Since 1972: Part 1, The Benefits of Point Source Controls for Conventional Pollutants in Rivers and Streams
The purpose of this study is to develop a preliminary assessment of the national benefits associated with these programs, in particular the Clean Water Act (CWA). This analysis represents the first part of an ongoing effort to develop a comprehensive assessment of the benefits of the CWA using modern valuation methods. It covers the Nation’s system of primary rivers and streams, conventional pollutants, and a subset of the services provided by water resources. The study states that the estimates presented should be interpreted as an approximation of the partial annual benefits of current water quality levels relative to what they would have been without the water pollution control programs that have been implemented since the early 1970s, in particular without the CWA. This study has developed an estimate of what water quality might look like today if current wastewater management practices were similar to practices in 1972, but with today’s levels of economic activity. This scenario provides the basis for the without-CWA water quality characterization that is compared to today’s water quality levels. Also included in this report is a case study analysis of the benefits of the water quality improvements in the Willamette River Basin in Oregon.
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