Total Dollar Benefit of Water Pollution Control

by Nelson L. Nemerow, (M.ASCE), Prof. of Civ. Engrg.; Syracuse Univ., Syracuse, NY,
Robert C. Faro, (A.M.ASCE), Consulting Engr.; H. L. Kartiganer Engrs., Newburgh, NY,

Serial Information: Journal of the Sanitary Engineering Division, 1970, Vol. 96, Issue 3, Pg. 665-674

Document Type: Journal Paper


Tangible dollar benefits of a lake or stream at a given water quality may be estimated by determining all uses which both affect and are affected by water quality, by independently valuing each use, and by summing the resultant values. Measurable beneficial water uses related to water quality include recreational uses, withdrawal water uses, wastewater disposal uses, bordering land uses and in-stream water uses. The value of each beneficial use may be estimated by a user willingness to pay criteria or by an evaluation of benefits derived from avoiding payment. Application of this method to Onondaga Lake at Syracuse, New York, produces an estimated net social benefit of $4,400,000 per yr. Recreation proves to be the most important beneficial use for Onondaga Lake at improved water quality and recreational value comprises close to half of the total net annual benefits of decreased pollution. Estimation of tangible dollar benefits of water pollution control may be useful in the decision of the value of installing advanced forms of waste treatment by river basin firms composed of members representing all major groups in water-using society.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Water-based recreation | Water pollution | Lakes | Waste treatment | Rivers and streams | Water reclamation | Land use | New York | United States

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