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Final Exam Review EC238.docx

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Karen Huff

Water Pollution-Control Policy Types of Water Pollutants -Organic wastes: degradable wastes such as domestic sewage -Inorganic substances: chemicals such as toxic metals salts, and acids -Non-material pollutants: radioactivity, heat -Infectious agents: bacteria, viruses Technology-based Standards in Ontario: Municipal & Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) -Ontario initiated a program to deal with all types of water pollution: conventional discharges, toxics, metals, and organic chemicals -The goal of MISA was “the virtual elimination of toxic contaminants in municipal and industrial discharges into waterways” The Economics of Technology-based Effluent Standards -A technology-based effluent standard is an effluent standard set at the level of emissions that a source would produce if it were employing a particular type of abatement technology -Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness of TBS: -A policy will be cost-effective if it is designed so that when sources are in compliance they will have the same marginal abatement costs Nonpoint-Source Emissions -Point source – a pollutant with a well-defined point of discharge into the environment; for example, air pollutants from the stacks of electricity-generating plants or other industries -Nonpoint source – a pollutant that does not have a well-defined source or discharge. An example is runoff of agricultural wastes or pesticides into rivers or groundwater -NPS emissions account for a substantial amount of the water pollution in Canada Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) – the amount of oxygen required to decompose organic material under specified conditions of temperature and time Non-accumulative pollutants – a pollutant that can be assimilated or buffered by the natural environment and hence does not build up over time. An example is noise. Once emissions of noise are stopped, it no longer acts as a pollutant in the environment Air Pollution-Control Policy Guidelines for Criteria Air Contaminants -The Clean Air Act gave the federal government the authority to: -Establish air-quality objectives -Establish regulations including standards at the source -Objectives: 1. The maximum desirable level is the long-term goal for air quality to protect the population and ecosystems 2. The maximum acceptable level is the level of air quality needed to provide adequate protection against adverse effects of air pollutants on human health and comfort, soil, water, vegetation, animals, materials, and visibility 3. The maximum tolerable level represents the lowest boundary before immediate action is required to protect the health of the general population Motor Vehicle Emissions -Most provinces have not regulated emissions of vehicles once in use -Vehicle emission policies in Canada and the United States rely on a technological fixed to solve a massive air-pollution problem -An example of an innovative policy used in Canada was the tax on leaded fuel – the federal government regulates the lead content in gasoline Acid Rain: A Trans boundary Pollution Problem -Sulphur dioxide is a trans boundary pollutant in North America -In Canada, the major sources of sulphur emission are metal smelting companies in Sudbury and coal- fired electric power plants operated by Hydro One -Canada saw acid rain as a bilateral issue because it “imports” substantial quantities of sulphur dioxide from the United States -The Canada-Wide Acid Rain Strategy for Post-2000 calls for: -New emissions targets in eastern Canada -Pursuing emissions reduction commitments from the U.S. -Ensuring the adequacy of acid rain science and monitoring -Minimizing growth in areas that currently have low emissions levels Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) -The total effluent from all sources running into a given stream -States are responsible for regulating the TMDL into the watershed -Represents a key step forward in water quality protection from the approach that focused almost exclusively on regulating point sources to one that took account of all sources of pollution Point of impingement – the point where air pollutants from a source first encounter the ground, a building, or other object. Point of impingement standards are a type of ambient standard where no source can release emissions that result in a concentration exceeding the standard at each point of impingement Emissions Trading Principles and Application Design Issues: What exactly will be traded? -Credit trading – credits are given to pollute
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