Journal Article

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Valuation of Surface Water Quality Improvements

Charles Griffiths, Heather Klemick, Matt Massey, Chris Moore, Steve Newbold, David Simpson, Patrick Walsh and William Wheeler

in Review of Environmental Economics and Policy

Published on behalf of Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

Volume 6, issue 1, pages 130-146
Published in print January 2012 | ISSN: 1750-6816
Published online January 2012 | e-ISSN: 1750-6824 | DOI:

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Since 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has used benefit-cost analysis to evaluate many of its surface water quality regulations. Early regulations were aimed at controlling conventional and toxic pollutants that were directly linked to highly visible water quality problems. More recent regulations have focused on “unconventional” water quality stressors or more subtle distinctions in water quality. While a number of national-scale water quality models have been used over the years, there has been less exploration of economic models to estimate benefits. This article addresses three issues that have been particularly challenging in estimating the benefits from water quality improvement: defining standardized measures of water quality improvement, measuring benefits arising from ecological protection and restoration, and measuring nonuse benefits.

Keywords: Q22; Q51; Q53; Q57; Q58

Journal Article.  7711 words. 

Subjects: Environmental Economics ; Renewable Resources and Conservation