Title page for ETD etd-02142001-091021

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author March, Daniel Jackson
Author's Email Address damarch@vt.edu
URN etd-02142001-091021
Title Pollutant Monitoring of Effluent Credit Trading Programs For Agricultural Nonpoint Source Control
Degree Master of Engineering
Department Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Cox, William E. Committee Chair
Gallagher, Daniel L. Committee Member
Mostaghimi, Saied Committee Member
Stephenson, Stephen Kurt Committee Member
  • nonpoint source
  • effluent credit trading
  • water quality
  • monitoring
  • land use monitoring
  • trading
  • agriculture
  • best management plans
Date of Defense 2000-10-27
Availability unrestricted
This study discusses the monitoring requirements of an effluent credit trading system that allows

point source discharges to purchase effluent reductions by financing agricultural nonpoint source

best management practices. It describes the results of a national survey of existing trading

programs that assessed how each program determines nonpoint source baseline pollutant

discharges, pollutant reductions attributable to best management practices, verification of best

management practice(s) installation and maintenance activities, and how often this verification is


This study surveyed the nonpoint source discharge monitoring programs of several of the

successful effluent credit trading systems in the U.S. It documents and discusses specific

characteristics of nonpoint source pollutant discharge monitoring strategies. Finally, this thesis

compares trading program discharge monitoring characteristics to the current Virginia Cost-Share

nonpoint source monitoring program. The goal of this study is to recommend elements of

a nonpoint source discharge monitoring strategy to the Commonwealth of Virginia that can be

used in a trading program of its own.

The study shows that the majority of existing effluent credit trading programs use watershed

models and land use evaluation algorithms to indirectly monitor nonpoint source pollutant

discharges on a watershed basis rather than relying on empirical sampling and analysis activities

for individual farms of fields. Monitoring takes a variety of forms to provide the diverse

information necessary to indirectly determine nonpoint source discharges. Most trading

programs monitoring strategies are no more comprehensive than agricultural cost-share programs

even though many stakeholders believe that a trading program’s monitoring activities should be

exact enough to determine contributions from individual nonpoint sources to support the

payments for individual activities. This objection is a barrier to the acceptance of trading

programs by the public. A Virginia trading program must enhance its agricultural best

management practice cost-share program monitoring practices to track nonpoint source

discharges from individual farms or fields to be accepted and successful.

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