Cost and benefits of improving water quality by composting livestock wastes: a contingent valuation approach
Water quality tests in the Abbotsford area indicate that approximately 60% of the samples taken from wells in some regions are above the 10 mg/L maximum acceptable concentration of nitrate-nitrogen for drinking water as defined in Health and Welfare Canada's Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines. According to an Environment Canada study, increased nitrate concentrations change the micro-environment in waterways and makes water vulnerable to other types of pollution problems. Livestock
... ems. Livestock wastes have been identified as a major source of ground and surface water pollution. It is both difficult and expensive to clean up such wastes. Scientists have identified composting as a possible solution to the animal waste disposal problem. Composting yields a net loss when only private costs are considered. Linear ordinary least squares, open-ended; linear tobit; and, log-linear logit, closed-ended contingent valuation models are used to calculate the amount individuals are willing to pay to reduce the nitrate-nitrogen concentration in water. These calculations are translated as social benefits of composting, and compared to pollution defense expenditures that residents of Abbotsford are making to avoid the pollution problem. The defense expenditures are analyzed in linear ordinary least squares and linear logit regressions. Results from the contingent valuation model indicated an annual willingness to pay of $81.03 to $139.22 per household and annual defense expenditures of $142.94 per household, which is not sufficient to cover the high losses livestock producers would incur by composting all livestock waste. It would be more worthwhile to clean-up major incidents of pollution and invest in research for better management practices.