The Benefits of Safer Drinking Water: The Value of Nitrate Reduction

Economic Research Service Agricultural Economics Report Number 752, June 1997, 62 pp.

18 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2016

See all articles by Stephen R. Crutchfield

Stephen R. Crutchfield

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Joseph C. Cooper

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division

Date Written: February 22, 2016

Abstract

Nitrates in drinking water, which may come from nitrogen fertilizers applied to crops, are a potential health risk. This report evaluates the potential benefits of reducing human exposure to nitrates in the drinking water supply. In a survey, respondents were asked a series of questions about their willingness to pay for a hypothetical water filter, which would reduce their risk of nitrate exposure. If nitrates in the respondent's drinking water were to exceed the EPA minimum safety standard, they would be willing to pay $45 to $60, per household, per month, to reduce nitrates in their drinking water to the minimum safety standard. There are 2.9 million households in the four regions studied (White River area of Indiana, Central Nebraska, Lower Susquehanna, and Mid-Columbia Basin in Washington). If all households potentially at risk were protected from excessive nitrates in drinking water the estimated benefits would be $350 million.

Keywords: Water quality, drinking water, nitrates, benefits, contingent valuation

JEL Classification: Q26, Q28

Suggested Citation

Crutchfield, Stephen R. and Cooper, Joseph C. and Hellerstein, Daniel, The Benefits of Safer Drinking Water: The Value of Nitrate Reduction (February 22, 2016). Economic Research Service Agricultural Economics Report Number 752, June 1997, 62 pp.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2736657

Stephen R. Crutchfield (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

Joseph C. Cooper

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5470 (Phone)
202-694-5776 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.reeusda.gov/ree/reedir/de000190.htm#190

Daniel Hellerstein

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS), Resource and Rural Economics Division ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5613 (Phone)
202-694-5756 (Fax)

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