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 Pollution Reduction Trading in the La Pine Sub-Basin of the Deschutes River Watershed, Oregon: A Case Study of a Watershed Management Approach in a Rapidly Developing Rural Setting
Barbara J. Rich and Peter W. Gutowsky
Item Number: NRL2006-48
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Price: $20.00
Deschutes County has established the infrastructure for and demonstrated the feasibility of a transferable development credit (TDC) program currently operating in the study area. The original premise of the TDC program was to use the sale and development of county owned property (receiving area) to reduce the density of development reliant on onsite wastewater treatment systems and therefore impacts to groundwater and other resource and social values in the portion of the study area served by onsite wastewater treatment systems (sending area). The program works by transferring development rights from the sending area to the receiving area (county owned property that is served by centralized sewer and water). Extensive groundwater monitoring and modeling have shown, however, that the TDC program combined with the use of nitrogen reducing systems for only new development cannot solve the developing groundwater pollution problem stemming from the discharge of nitrate rich onsite system effluent to the unconfined aquifer that serves as the region’s drinking water source. Therefore, the County is working to expand the TDC program to offer other incentives to property owners to upgrade existing conventional (standard, pressure distribution, and sand filter) onsite wastewater treatment systems to nitrogen reducing systems. These incentives are represented by pollution reduction credits, which will be required in order to obtain the right to develop in the receiving area. This paper will review the process used to develop the program and provide lessons learned during the early stages of implementation.