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Application of an Environmental Decision Support System to a Water Quality Trading Program Affected by Surface Water Diversions

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Executive Summary

Environmental Decision Support Systems (EDSSs) are an emerging tool used to integrate the evaluation of highly complex and interrelated physicochemical, biological, hydrological, social, and economic aspects of environmental problems. An EDSS approach is developed to address hot-spot concerns for a water quality trading program intended to implement the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus in the Non-Tidal Passaic River Basin of New Jersey. Twenty-two WasteWater Treatment Plants (WWTPs) spread throughout the watershed are considered the major sources of phosphorus loading to the river system. Periodic surface water diversions to a major reservoir from the confluence of two key tributaries alter the natural hydrology of the watershed and must be considered in the development of a trading framework that ensures protection of water quality.

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