Cost effective policies for alternative distributions of stochastic water pollution

Ing Marie Gren*, Georgia Destouni, Raul Tempone

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This study investigates the role for cost effective coastal water management with regard to different assumptions of probability distributions (normal and lognormal) of pollutant transports to coastal waters. The analytical results indicate a difference in costs for a given probability of achieving a certain pollutant load target whether a normal or lognormal distribution is assumed. For low standard deviations and confidence intervals, the normal distribution implies a lower cost while the opposite is true for relatively high standard deviations and confidence intervals. The associated cost effective charges and permit prices are higher for lognormal distributions than for normal distributions at relatively high confidence intervals and probabilities of achieving the target. An application to Himmerfjärden - an estuary south of Stockholm, Sweden - shows that the minimum costs of achieving a 50 per cent reduction in nitrogen load to the coast varies more for a lognormal than normal probability distribution. At high coefficient of variation and chosen probability of achieving the target, the minimum cost under a lognormal assumption can be three times as high as for a normal distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)145-157
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2002
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are much indebted to three anonymous referees for valuable comments, and to the Swedish Fund for Strategic Environmental Research for financial support.


  • Cost effectiveness
  • Economic policy instruments
  • Probability distributions
  • Stochastic water pollution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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