11 Water Quality Trading Pilots Receiving More than $800,000 in Funding

In addition to releasing its final policy on water quality trading, EPA is supporting 11 trading projects to address a range of water quality challenges across the country. EPA supplied over $800,000 in fiscal year 2002 funding support and EPA Regional offices are providing technical and other support to the projects.

These projects are:

• Trading to Reduce Nitrogen Loads in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed - Conestoga River, PA. A project to reduce nitrogen loads in a Chesapeake Bay tributary and strive for additional environmental benefits such as creation of habitat.

• Create an Electronic Marketplace for Nutrient Trading in Chesapeake Bay. Develop an internet-based board of trade for nitrogen trading in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, with the potential to be adapted for other watersheds.

• Outreach on Trading to the Agricultural Community. Through a partnership with the National Association of Conservation Districts, provide information to extension agents and agricultural producers on the concept, mechanics and potential benefits of water quality trading.

• Trading to Reduce Selenium Loads to the Lower Colorado River. Develop trading framework aimed at reducing high selenium levels in tributaries to the Lower Colorado River requiring a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL). Selenium loads in the tributaries come from point sources and (mainly) nonpoint sources such as irrigation flows.

• First-Year Assessment of Nitrogen Trading in Connecticut. Evaluate the first year’s implementation of a trading program among 79 wastewater treatment plants to meet a nitrogen TMDL in Long Island Sound. Project will assess nitrogen reductions achieved, the utility of a watershed permit used for the 79 facilities, and the potential for expanding the program to include nonpoint sources.

• Trading to Reduce Impacts from Urban and Agricultural Runoff near Montgomery, Alabama. Project to explore trading’s potential to reduce sediment pollution and create additional environmental benefits in the Coosa and/or Tallapaloosa Rivers.

• Pilot Feasibility Assessment of Trading to Reduce Mercury Loads to the Sacramento River. The Sacramento Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant has a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit that requires the plant to develop a proposal for reducing mercury discharges to the watershed from sources that are either not regulated or cannot be readily controlled. This pilot project supports the Sacramento Regional Country Sanitation District’s efforts to assess the feasibility of achieving net reductions in mercury loadings through such offset actions.

• Increasing In-Stream Flow in the Upper Charles River Watershed, MA. This project seeks innovative ways to address problems of water quality and reduced in-stream flow in the Charles River by exploring the option of wastewater treatment plants taking actions upstream to increase groundwater recharge and decrease stormwater runoff in lieu of increasing treatment capacity downstream.

• Evaluate Feasibility of Reducing Acid Mine Drainage in the Cheat River, WV. This stakeholder-driven project will assess the potential for trading to achieve greater reductions in acid mine drainage pollution than would be achieved under current NPDES permits through actions to abate drainage from abandoned mines. Project outcomes will be tied to improved ecological conditions in the Cheat River.

• Nitrogen Trading in the Neuse River Basin, NC. Establishment of operational guidelines for a trading program to reduce nitrogen loads from a group of wastewater treatment plants to meet a TMDL.

• Pilot Trading Framework for State of Wisconsin. Development of a trading framework that the State may use to guide development of future nutrient trading programs in Wisconsin.