On the nature of the optimal control problem at leaking underground fuel tank sites

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In California, leaking underground fuel tank (LUFT) legislation was conceived because of concern that ''time bomb plumes'' would ultimately impact a significant portion of the state's ground and surface water resources. However, it has been found that fuel hydrocarbons (FHC) plumes are stable at relatively short distances from the source in areas of shallow groundwater. In urban areas, these shallow aquifers are not even recommended for use because they are subject to contamination from sewers, storm drains, septic fields and a variety of other sources. After the FHC source has been removed, risk to human health or the environment is ... continued below

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202 Kilobytes pages

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McDowell, B December 1, 1998.

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In California, leaking underground fuel tank (LUFT) legislation was conceived because of concern that ''time bomb plumes'' would ultimately impact a significant portion of the state's ground and surface water resources. However, it has been found that fuel hydrocarbons (FHC) plumes are stable at relatively short distances from the source in areas of shallow groundwater. In urban areas, these shallow aquifers are not even recommended for use because they are subject to contamination from sewers, storm drains, septic fields and a variety of other sources. After the FHC source has been removed, risk to human health or the environment is insignificant in most cases. For this reason, cleanup to maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) will not significantly reduce the social damages associated with current or near-term human health or ecological risk. Based on these findings, California would be able to save significant resources that had been allocated for LUFT-site cleanup. Non-convexities in the rate of decay function and non-differentiability in the cleanup and social damage functions appear to limit the usefulness of models, such as Caputo and Wilen's (1995), that attempt to characterize the optimal cleanup path using marginal analyses. Furthermore, the effect of active remediation efforts on the natural rate of decay in stable plumes is not taken into account in their model. The imposition of deed restrictions prior to a demonstration of cleanup to MCLs is an additional conservative measure imposed by the California Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCBs) to reduce the uncertainty associated with health risks to future users. These measures impose costs on society in the form of lost rents that have not been considered by regulators. By estimating the differential rents during the time to cleanup, regulators would be able to compare the costs of imposing deed restrictions with the values that society imparts to protection of future users. Both land and water sources are unique in that the value of each is highly dependent upon location. For cost-benefit analysis to be effective, site-specific estimates of property and groundwater values need to be established. Future research may focus on deriving site-specific estimates of restricted and unrestricted land and water usage.

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202 Kilobytes pages

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  • 43rd Annual Conference of the Australian Agricultural & Resource Economics Society, Christchurch (NZ), 01/20/1999--01/22/1999

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  • Report No.: UCRL-JC-132783
  • Grant Number: W-7405-Eng-48
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 8205
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc735278

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • December 1, 1998

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  • Oct. 18, 2015, 6:40 p.m.

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  • May 6, 2016, 1:48 p.m.

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McDowell, B. On the nature of the optimal control problem at leaking underground fuel tank sites, article, December 1, 1998; Livermore, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc735278/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.