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Water Quality Credit Trading and the Pollutant Trading Policy Advisory Committee


Water Quality Credit Trading Rulemaking

April 29, 2010 Public Hearing (Tallahassee)

October 13, 2009 Public Workshop (Jacksonville) November 21, 2008 Public Workshop (Tallahassee)

What is Water Quality Credit Trading?

Water quality credit trading (sometimes referred to as "pollutant trading") is an innovative approach to achieve water quality goals more efficiently. Trading is based on the fact that sources in a watershed can face very different costs to control the same pollutant. Trading programs allow facilities facing higher pollution control costs to meet their regulatory obligations by purchasing environmentally equivalent (or superior) pollution reductions from another source at lower cost, thus achieving the same water quality improvement at lower overall cost.

How Does Water Quality Credit Trading Work?

While trading can take many different forms, the foundations of trading are that a water quality goal is established and that sources within the watershed have significantly different costs to achieve comparable levels of pollution control.

Where Will Water Quality Credit Trading Work?

Where watershed circumstances favor trading, it can be a powerful tool for achieving pollutant reductions faster and at lower cost. Water quality credit trading will not work everywhere, however. Trading works best when:

  1. There is a "driver" that motivates facilities to seek pollutant reductions, usually a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) or a more stringent water quality-based requirement in an NPDES permit;
  2. Sources within the watershed have significantly different costs to control the pollutant of concern;
  3. The necessary levels of pollutant reduction are not so large that all sources in the watershed must reduce as much as possible to achieve the total reduction needed – in this case there may not be enough surplus reductions to sell or purchase; and
  4. Watershed stakeholders and the state regulatory agency are willing to try an innovative approach and engage in trading design and implementation issues.

What is the Pollutant Trading Policy Advisory Committee (PAC)?

The PAC was established to assist the Department in developing a water quality credit trading program and rule in Florida. PAC members represent different stakeholder groups that have are involved in the implementation of TMDLs to restore the health of impaired waters.

PAC Background Information Documents

Water Quality Credit Trading Links 

December 2006 report to the Governor and Legislature on Water Quality Credit Trading

Section 403.067, Florida Statutes (145 KB)

Lower St. Johns River Basin Management Action Plan (October 2008 - 4.2 MB)

Last updated: June 30, 2015

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