Taking Credits

Water Quality Trading Aligns Our Communities

Only so much room in the watershed.

Streams, lakes, and wetlands are just a few of the many sources that supply our drinking water and make agriculture and manufacturing possible. These sources are replenished by rain and snow that drain through the watershed of the surrounding lands. As our society evolves industrially and our infrastructure grows larger, so too do the pollutants that mix in with the water draining into bodies of water. The current leading causes of pollution in our waterways are sediment, bacteria, and excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus.

Watershed Infographic

EPA sets guidelines to protect the environment.

In 1972, the Clean Water Act authorized the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) to perform a range of permitting, administrative, and enforcement procedures to regulate sources that discharge pollutants into our waters. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), outlined under the Clean Water Act, specifies a maximum allowable output of waste material, which is discharged from any industrial or business processes (effluent). Different industries encounter diverse challenges in controlling these pollutants, which are often overcome only through expensive measures.

Trading Water Quality Credits

One alternative for companies is water quality trading. Found under the Clean Water Act, it is an option for compliance with a water quality-based effluent limitation (WQBEL) in an NPDES permit. These credits are generated by a point source over controlling its discharge or by a non-point source installing best management practices.

Inframark creates quality trading credits when one of our wastewater treatment plant’s effluent is of exceptional quality, particularly for nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment, as well as when this discharge contains significantly less of these substances than authorized under our discharge permit.

That said, we have allocated nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment credits to the Terumo Medical Corporation in Elkton, Md., without charge, as Terumo is a prominent business asset and major employer in our community. This is another example of Inframark’s continued commitment to Pure Alignment in our partnerships.

Learn more about Water Quality Trading Credits on the official EPA website.

Similar Posts