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Water Quality Trading

Resource Clearinghouse

Explore the Water Quality Trading Subpages to find resources on policies, programs, technical guidance, tools, monitoring reports, and more about WQT in the U.S. and world-wide.

Background

Water quality trading (WQT) developed as an innovative market-based method for achieving water quality improvements in watersheds where point and non-point pollutant sources face different costs to control the same pollutant. In the United States, voluntary participation in WQT allows National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit holders (point sources) facing high control costs to meet certain regulatory obligations by purchasing pollutant reductions generated by a source that is able to implement controls at a lower cost. In appropriate settings, WQT can reduce overall compliance costs for facilities by providing flexibility while encouraging and rewarding applicable non-point source ecosystem improvements and increasing stakeholder interaction within a watershed.