Water Quality Trading on the Boise River

Document Type

Student Presentation

Presentation Date


Faculty Sponsor

Scott Lowe


Effluent trading is a business-like way of helping to solve water quality problems by focusing on cost effective, local solutions to problems caused by pollutant discharges to surface waters. Trading allows trading parties to decide how to best reduce pollutant loadings within the limits of the trading requirements. The appeal of effluent trading emerges when pollutant sources face substantially different pollutant reduction costs. Typically, a party facing relatively high pollutant reduction costs compensates another party to achieve an equivalent, though less costly, pollutant reduction. Effluent trading is voluntary. Parties trade only if both are better off as a result of the trade. Because most trading systems are designed to fit within existing regulatory frameworks, effluent trading typically will not create any new regulatory obligations.

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