Adopting Ecosystem Services for Enhanced Sustainable Communities by Wetlands Assimilation of Wastewater and Water Quality Credit Trading

Author(s): Ko, J.

Adopting ecosystem services as policy tools in achiving sustainable communities have been advocated by academicians and government officials. Adopting natural ecosystem services increases local community's capacity to comply with environmental regulations (e.g., Clean Water Act) without significant financial burden, while keeping ecological integrity of natural ecosystem surrounding human community. For example, more than half of communities in State of Mississippi has been failing in compliance of wastewater treatment permit, because they are in economically depressed region, causing harms to the human health, and the aquatic ecosystems. Natural wetland assimilation of municipal wastewater increases water quality of wastewater, contributing to increased compliance of wastewater permit with highly reduced engineering and operating costs, and increased vegetative productivity. Water quality credit trading - another policy tool of adopting ecosystem services – is an EPA approved policy which allows credit trading between polluters and local stakeholders of unimpaired watershed on nutrients (e.g., total nitrogen) and sediments. After considering that State of Mississippi is economically poor and a rural state, adopting ecosystem services has significant potentials of increasing compliances of environmental regulation with less financial burden, and generating additional financial revenues to local communities. However, currently the two policy tools are not available in the State of Mississippi, even though the EPA endorses them. The presentation discusses the opportunities of introducing the two ideas to Mississippi.

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