Environmental Quality and Residuals Management: Report of a Research Program on Economic, Technological, and Institutional Aspects

By Allen V. Kneese; Blair T. Bower | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 5
Regional Residuals Management Models

It is useful to analyze integrated residuals management at the individual activity level because of the insights that such microlevel analysis can provide in and of itself, but also because it is essential to analyzing integrated residuals management on a regional level. Because actual decision making having to do with managing residuals discharged from multiple sources takes place in particular geographic areas, a regional REQM strategy involves a mix of incentives that affect both the individual dischargers (to induce them to reduce discharges) and the management agency itself (when it acts in a collective way to modify residuals and when it acts directly to modify environmental quality)--all this directed toward improving ambient environmental quality.

The analysis of integrated residuals management at the microlevel provides information on the possible responses of individual dischargers. The task of regional REQM analysis is to combine the alternative residuals management options for the individual activities with collective management options and the transformations produced by natural systems to develop an optimal (however defined) regional strategy, a strategy which considers explicitly the distribution of both the benefits and the costs of improving ambient environmental quality.

As discussed in chapter 2, when residuals are discharged, they are not only transported but they undergo various transformations in the natural systems which receive them. Accordingly, the impact that a given residuals discharge has on a particular receptor is a function not only of the amount and type of discharge but of where the discharger is located relative to the receptor and the specific characteristics of the receiving environmental media in that particular region. The latter include such factors as: air temperature, wind speed, the presence or absence of inversions; water temperature, water volume and flow, pre-existing biochemical

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