Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Freshwater Pollution Costs US At Least $4.3 Billion A Year

Date:
November 17, 2008
Source:
Kansas State University
Summary:
Researchers found that freshwater pollution by phosphorus and nitrogen costs government agencies, drinking water facilities and individual Americans costs the US at least $4.3 billion annually.

Pollution by phosphorous and nitrogen isn't just bad for lakes, streams and other bodies of fresh water. According to researchers, it's also bad for Americans' pocketbooks.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

Pollution by phosphorus and nitrogen isn't just bad for lakes, streams and other bodies of fresh water. According to researchers at Kansas State University, it's also bad for Americans' pocketbooks.

Freshwater pollution impacts individuals on a level as basic as how much they spend on bottled water, said Walter Dodds, professor of biology at K-State. If you worry about what's in the tap water, you might be shelling out more money for the bottled variety, he said.

If your municipal water plant has to spend more money to treat the water coming through your tap, your water bills will increase. If you own a house on a lake that is becoming increasingly polluted, your property values likely may drop. If that lake is a recreation destination, your local economy could take a hit, too.

"Monetary damages put environmental problems in terms that make policymakers and the public take notice," Dodds said.

He and the K-State researchers looked at U.S. Environmental Protection Agency data on nitrogen and phosphorus levels in bodies of water throughout the country. Nitrogen and phosphorus are nutrients that are applied to plants as nutrients.

Dodds said that the majority of this type of pollution is from nonpoint sources --that is it's not flowing into a lake or stream like sewage outflow coming from one pipe. Rather, the nitrogen and phosphorus are reaching the water from various points, such as, for example, runoff from row crop agriculture across the surrounding countryside.

The researchers calculated the money lost from that pollution by looking at factors like decreasing lakefront property values, the cost of treating drinking water and the revenue lost when fewer people take part in recreational activities like fishing or boating.

The researchers found that freshwater pollution by phosphorus and nitrogen costs government agencies, drinking water facilities and individual Americans at least $4.3 billion annually. Of that, they calculated that $44 million a year is spent just protecting aquatic species from nutrient pollution.

"We are providing underestimates," Dodds said. "Although our accounting of the degree of nutrient pollution in the nation is fairly accurate, the true costs of pollution are probably much greater than $4.3 billion."

The research appears in the Nov. 12 online issue of Environmental Science and Technology. Co-authors include current K-State students Alyssa Riley, doctoral student in biology, Manhattan, Tyler Pilger, master's student in biology, Wichita, and Wes Bouska, master's student in biology, Brookings, S.D.; as well as Jeffrey Eitzmann, May 2008 master's graduate in biology; Kristen Pitts, August 2008 master's graduate in biology; Joshua Schloesser, August 2008 master's graduate in biology; and Darren Thornbrugh, December 2007 master's graduate in biology.

Dodds said he anticipates the research being used by policymakers because it documents the extent of the nutrient pollution problem in the United States and one facet of why it matters.

"Putting environmental problems in terms of dollars allows people to account for the actual costs of pollution," Dodds said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Kansas State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Kansas State University. "Freshwater Pollution Costs US At Least $4.3 Billion A Year." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 November 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124418.htm>.
Kansas State University. (2008, November 17). Freshwater Pollution Costs US At Least $4.3 Billion A Year. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124418.htm
Kansas State University. "Freshwater Pollution Costs US At Least $4.3 Billion A Year." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112124418.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

Amid Drought, UCLA Sees Only Water

AP (July 30, 2014) A ruptured 93-year-old water main left the UCLA campus awash in 8 million gallons of water in the middle of California's worst drought in decades. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast

AP (July 30, 2014) Every summer, tourists make the pilgrimage to Chincoteague Island, Va. to see wild ponies cross the Assateague Channel. But, it's the rockets sending to supplies to the International Space Station that are making this a year-round destination. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins