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A Benefit-Cost Analysis of Total Maximum Daily Load Implementation1


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    Paper No. J07-0052 of the Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA).Discussions are open until February 1, 2009.



Abstract:  Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) implementation generates benefits and costs from water quality improvements, which are rarely quantified. This analysis examines a TMDL written to address bacteria and aquatic-life-use impairments on Abrams and Opequon Creeks in Virginia. Benefits were estimated using a contingent valuation survey of local residents. Costs were based on the number and type of best management practices (BMPs) necessary to achieve TMDL pollution reduction goals. BMPs were quantified using watershed-scale water quality simulation models (Generalized Watershed Loading Function and Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN). Based on our projections, the costs to achieve TMDL induced pollution reduction goals outweigh the estimated benefits. Benefit-cost ratios ranged between 0.1 and 0.3.