Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Tool Assesses Costs-Benefits of Drinking Water Standards

Abt Associates has developed an economic analysis model to help the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assess contaminant ceilings and guide development of regulations for the nation’s public drinking water systems. SafeWater CBX is the first EPA modeling tool to measure costs and benefits simultaneously, using the same input data. Previous models developed for EPA conducted separate cost and benefit analyses.

SafeWater CBX has the ability to simultaneously consider two or more user-specified maximum contaminant levels so that comparisons can be readily made, according to its designer, Brad Firlie, senior associate in Abt’s Environment and Resources Division.

"SafeWater CBX allows EPA to perform an analysis in a fraction of the time," explained Firlie, and "the integrated analysis produces more accurate data to support informed decision-making."

"The tool is also unique in its ability to factor in the uncertainties that are inherent to cost-benefit analysis," said Mike Conti, division vice president of Environment and Resources. Conti added that SafeWater CBX is an "important tool" for EPA.

"Conducting separate analyses produced a range of costs and a range of benefits. With the new program, we can produce results that characterize the cost-benefit ratio. This figure has the most value for EPA policymakers," said Firlie.

Abt Associates www.AbtAssociates.com
March 22, 2011

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