Water Quality Trading
Water quality trading is a flexible approach that allows regulated point source dischargers the opportunity to partner with other point source or nonpoint source entities to reduce pollution. Point source and nonpoint source entities can earn water quality credits based on pollution reductions beyond those required by law or regulation. These credits can be purchased by a regulated point source discharger to achieve less costly pollutant reductions than if the discharger acted alone. The trade ultimately results in equal or greater reduction in pollution to a specific waterbody at a reduced cost to the regulated entity. Water quality trading, specifically nutrient trading, has been the focus of substantial discussion and effort on both a national and regional level. Please visit the for more information about water quality trading in Georgia.
EPD is in the process of developing a water quality trading guidance document. A copy of the draft water quality guidance document is available for download . This effort builds on previous water quality trading related projects funded by 319(h) and Regional Water Planning seed grants, as well as a stakeholder process held in 2019 on a draft water quality trading framework. A summary of that stakeholder process is available for download .
As part of that process, EPD is holding another series of stakeholder meetings in summer and fall 2021 on the draft water quality guidance document. Each meeting will focus on a specific section of the guidance document to ensure sufficient time for discussion. The goal of these four virtual meetings is to provide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees, the agriculture community, mitigation bankers, land trusts, the public, and other stakeholders an opportunity to provide input. Please see the public notice for these meetings to learn more about how to participate.
The first stakeholder meeting, covering background information and sections 1-5 of the draft guidance document, was held on July 22, 2021. The presentation is available .
The second stakeholder meeting, covering implementation specifics, such as trading plan development and permit language, was held on August 19, 2021. The presentation is available .
The third stakeholder meeting, covering credit generation, tracking, compliance, and enforcement, was held on September 16, 2021. The presentation is available .
The fourth stakeholder meeting, summarizing the stakeholder process, answering open questions, and responding to feedback, was held on October 14, 2021. The presentation is available .