An exploration of economic valuation of phosphorus in the environment and its implications in decision making for resource recovery.


University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


In decision making processes today it is typically economic considerations that are the focus and that dictate what decisions are made; however, this approach neglects significant potential impacts these decisions can have, namely environmental impacts. One way to incorporate environmental considerations into current decision making processes is through monetary valuation. This work surveys environmental economics literature that quantifies the monetary valuation of nutrients and nutrient pollution, and applies monetary valuation of phosphorus to a case study of nutrient recovery in wastewater treatment. The literature review catalogues three different monetary valuation methods, economic consequences, mitigation and restoration, and willingness to pay, and highlights the different perspectives each of these methods addresses. Additionally, the case study demonstrates how monetary valuation can be applied in a realistic decision making scenario and highlights how variability in monetary valuation methods and results can affect decision making. From this literature and case study assessment a call can be made to establish more standardized methods for determining the monetary valuation of nutrients in an effort to promote and encourage the consideration of nutrient pollution issues in future decision making.


Environmental economics,Nutrient recovery,Wastewater treatment,

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